Sir John Chilcot’s benign interviewing style is less and less to the taste of the Iraq Inquiry panel members, The Slog has learned, while senior Liberal Democrats are highly critical of the ‘easy ride’ for witnesses to date.
Pressure is building on Sir John Chilcot to schedule more re-interviews and accept that several witnesses to date have not been taking the Inquiry entirely seriously. I understand that Sir John and Martin Gilbert remain more conservative about the examining style, while Sir Roderic Lyne and Sir Lawrence Freedman want more witnesses to return,in particular Geoff Hoon and Alistair Campbell. Baroness Prashar retains a wait-and-see open mind on the subject.
Meanwhile, sources close to Libdem leader Nick Clegg continued to insist today that ‘obvious inconsistencies’ in the evidence are being allowed to pass by unchallenged – although later questions to Lord Goldsmith this afternoon suggested a stronger tone than previously.
A growing number of those on the Tory and Libdem benches point out that Jack Straw’s version of events (and his own feelings about it) do not sit easily with Goldsmith’s change of mind on 1441. But a foreign service source told The Slog tonight, “Sir Roderic thinks he can unnerve Blair on Friday”.
Postscript: Clare Short has contacted The Slog to insist that “I have already outlined most of what I know in my book, ‘An Honourable Deception’”. Whether the ‘most of’ is intended to depress or excite expectations remains to be seen.