Tony Blair has said he “regrets deeply and profoundly” his decision to return to the Iraq Inquiry being held in London.
The former prime minister was answering questions almost a year since his last appearance before the panel led by Sir John Chilcot, and admitted it was probably a mistake to agree to go over it all again.
Sitting before the inquiry, Blair said, “Lord Goldsmith warned me not come back, but I considered his advice to be provisional, though perhaps with hindsight he was probably right.”
When asked if he would agree to have private letters to George W Bush made public, Blair said, “Only if you remove all references to me offering regular fellatio, and the paragraphs which outline the things I can do with my tongue.”
Blair at Iraq Inquiry
Blair was also keen to set the record straight regarding some misconceptions around his first appearance before the inquiry.
He said in a solemn tone, “Last time I was sat before you, I made it seem like I was willing to be there and answer your questions, but I would like to correct that view and make it clear that my profound regret lies in agreeing to take part in this tedious process in the first place.”
His statement was greeted by calls from the gallery of ‘too late!’, clear indications that people recognised that he was there already and might as well get on with it.
Blair concluded his testimony shortly before 2pm, telling Sir John Chilcott, “Are we done? I’ve got a pretty lengthy confession booked in with my priest this afternoon.”
“Plus I need to get back to the middle east – do you think this January tan comes from spending hours indoors in a freezing London conference centre? Let me assure you it doesn’t.”