London, Nov.13 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to give evidence in public to the Iraq war inquiry in the run-up to the next election, it was announced on Thursday night.
Sir John Chilcot, who is chairing the inquiry, indicated yesterday that Blair and other government ministers would be asked to appear before his committee early in the new year.
The report will not be published until the end of 2010, or even 2011.
However, the appearance of Blair and other ministers early next year could prove damaging for Labour ahead of the election.
There is also an outside chance that Blair might be the new president of the European Union by then, although his prospects for the job have faded partly because of the unpopularity of the war in Europe.
In a statement last night, Chilcot said the first five weeks of public evidence sessions, which will begin on November 24, would hear from senior officials and military officers.
Ministers, including Blair, will be called in January and early February, The Guardian quoted Chilcot, as saying.
After that first phase of public hearings, there will be private gatherings and analysis before a further round of public sessions in mid-2010.
The inquiry, which will cover the entire eight-year period from the build-up to the war to the withdrawal of British troops, was announced by Gordon Brown last June. (ANI)