The main point of the Iraq Inquiry is to establish whether the invasion was both justified and legal. On that basis I see absolutely no problem with Tony Blair and other witnesses giving their evidence in pubic, live on television. William Hague has questioned whether Blair will in fact be giving all his evidence in public.
According to Sir John [Chilcott], sessions will be held in private not just when national security is concerned but also when there is a need for candour. This is a worrying new caveat.
Indeed it is. No one would expect a former Prime Minister to reveal details relevant to national security in public, but equally some of us felt that at the time the former Prime Minister publicly misled the entire country about the national security reasons for going to war.
The caveat about candour should concern anyone. This may not be a court of law, but Sir John is entitled for witnesses to treat it as if it were. We need the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Meeting in private should not be a prerequisite for persuading witnesses to tell it.