By Andrew Grice, Political Editor | Independent | Monday, 4 January 2010
An internet-based “people power” campaign is asking its 60,000 members to draw up the “tough questions” that Tony Blair must be asked when he is questioned by the Iraq inquiry this year.
38 Degrees, a group set up last year in memory of the Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick, wants to ensure that Mr Blair is not let off the hook or allowed to answer the most sensitive questions in private.
Although Sir John Chilcot, the former Whitehall mandarin chairing the inquiry, has insisted that Mr Blair will be questioned mainly in public, critics of the 2003 invasion fear the former prime minister may cite national security in an attempt to ensure some of the hearing is behind closed doors.
An initial survey by 38 Degrees found strong demands among its members for Mr Blair to answer these questions:
- Why did you insist that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were the reason to attack Iraq?
- Did the Bush administration threaten, tacitly or otherwise, to withdraw American investment from the UK if it did not support the invasion?
- Why was there no strategy to rebuild Iraq following Saddam’s overthrow?
- What was the total value to the UK and its businesses of contracts arising directly from the Iraq invasion?
- Why does the UK Government support the creation of new governments which oppress women more than their predecessors did?