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12th January 2011
UPDATE: I have received a ticket for Tony Blair’s appearance at the Inquiry next Friday. So I’ll let you know all about it next weekend. I know. You can hardly wait!
According to the updated timetable on the Iraq Inquiry website, also reported here at Sky the former prime minister will appear at the Iraq Inquiry for the second time on Friday the 21st of January, 2011, since some have concluded that the panel didn’t extract enough
blood information the first time he appeared.
Those who applied for tickets for this year’s event , which will last for four and a half hours, compared to the six hours at the previous
inquisition inquiry session will hear if their applications have been successful within the next few days. See Iraq Inquiry website here
From Iraq Inquiry website:
A ballot to allocate seats in the hearing room for Tony Blair’s appearance at the Iraq Inquiry on January 21st took place on Monday 10 January. All the people who were successful in the ballot will be notified in the next few days.
There are 60 seats in the hearing room, with a third reserved for family members who lost loved ones in Iraq. Each of the bereaved families could apply for up to two tickets. The ballot for family members received 24 entries, 44 tickets were requested (20 pairs and four individuals). After 20 seats had been allocated the remaining 24 were added to the separate public ballot, which received 167 entries from members of the public. 14 families will be represented in the hearing room on the day of Mr Blair’s public hearing.
The other ten families who applied but were not successful will be guaranteed a seat in a private viewing room at the Inquiry venue if they wish. There is also an additional viewing facility for the public who entered the ballot, did not get a seat in the hearing room but had expressed an interest in watching from a separate room at the QEII.
The ballot was overseen by Karamjit Singh CBE, who is currently the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman and the Social Fund Commissioner for both Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Mr Singh was asked to provide independent oversight of the ballot and confirm that it was conducted in a fair and transparent manner. Mr Singh has signed an undertaking [PDF] to this effect.
Only those named individuals with tickets will be able to gain entry to the QEII conference centre on the day of the hearing. Anyone who was unsuccessful in the ballot will be able to watch the proceedings on the internet via the Inquiry’s website. It is also likely that the main UK broadcasters will show extended coverage of the Tony Blair hearing on their news channels.
It is interesting that only 167 requests from the general public were made this time. If I recall correctly that compares with 500-600 for his last appearance. Perhaps I’ll even get a seat in the actual hearing room this time, and not in the external viewing room, as I did last year. Reported here – I was a witness (more or less) to the TRIAL of Tony Blair, aka the Iraq Inquiry
Will keep you updated.
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
“All countries need a leader who isn’t afraid to fight terrorism. I believe Mr. Blair did a necessary job in helping his allies. Are we all just supposed to lie down and wait for them to come for us, I don’t think so.”
And – “Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the privilege of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – “I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is an honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”