Bahai News -- Telegraph - Blair will face questioning on Thursday

Blair will face questioning on Thursday

By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent
(Filed: 22/08/2003)

Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon will give evidence to the Hutton Inquiry next week, it was revealed yesterday. The Prime Minister will appear on Thursday, a day after Mr Hoon, the Defence Secretary.

Announcing the latest list of witnesses, Lord Hutton also said that he plans to finish taking evidence and hearing submissions by Thursday Sept 25.

The inquiry will not sit on Bank Holiday Monday. On Tuesday it will hear from John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Sir David Omand, the permanent secretary to the Cabinet Office, and Andrew Mackinlay, a Labour member of the Commons foreign affairs committee.

On Wednesday, as well as Mr Hoon, the inquiry will hear from Ministry of Defence officials and Ann Taylor, the chairman of the Commons intelligence and security committee. On Thursday Mr Blair will be followed by Gavyn Davies, the BBC chairman, and Tom Mangold, a journalist and friend of Dr Kelly's.

Members of Dr Kelly's family will appear the following Monday and on Tuesday Sept 2 police officers and a pathologist will give evidence about the scientist's apparent suicide. On the Wednesday a psychiatrist and a member of the Baha'i faith will be the final witnesses to appear in the first stage of the inquiry.

Lord Hutton will then adjourn for a week and a half. The inquiry will begin again on Sept 15 when it will hear from witnesses recalled for cross-examination. After concluding on around Sept 25, Lord Hutton expects to take "some time" to prepare his report.

Lord Hutton has surprised veterans of previous Whitehall inquiries with the speed with which he has been able to make progress. His terms of reference require him to conduct an investigation "urgently" and he seems to be taking this aspect of role particularly seriously.

©Copyright 2003, Telegraph (UK)

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