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'Pivotal' moment as Blair faces Iraq inquiry

'Pivotal' moment as Blair faces Iraq inquiry
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Why did Britain go to war in Iraq? Tony Blair will be grilled at length about the decision when he makes a much awaited appearance before the Chilcot inquiry on Friday.

Families of some of the 179 British soldiers who have died in Iraq are expected to demonstrate at the hearing.

Corporal Gordon Pritchard was killed a few weeks after meeting the former British Prime Minister in 2005. His father is unconvinced that the war was necessary.

“Tony Blair wanted to follow the Americans into this great adventure,” said Bill Pritchard. “And it’s the old phrase ‘I will fight for freedom to the last drop of your blood’. Tony Blair wanted to do this. It was another stepping stone on his road to stardom.”

Reports say Blair is expected to give a typically robust defence.

The appearance has been described as a pivotal moment for Tony Blair. Civil servants have claimed that intelligence before the invasion indicated that weapons of mass destruction had been dismantled.

It is also a test for Sir John Chilcot. His inquiry has been criticised for being too soft on witnesses and of failing to ask probing questions.