The Government has come under increasing pressure
to hold an independent inquiry into the Iraq war, after insisting
that "concrete evidence" of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass
destruction would be found.
Former Prime Minister John Major and the current
Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith, both repeated calls for an
independent probe after reports that Britain believed it would not
find WMD in Iraq.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman
said the premier was "absolutely confident" that material would be
found which would have justified United Nations chief weapons
inspector Hans Blix securing a fresh Security Council resolution if
his inspection team had found it.
Mr Blair's spokesman added: "The Prime Minister
believes and is absolutely confident that we will find material
that, had Hans Blix found it, would have justified him going back to
the Security Council and having a further UN resolution issued.
"The Prime Minister is also absolutely confident
that we will find evidence not only of his WMD programmes but
concrete evidence of the product of those programmes as well."
Mr Major, who supported military action, said
unanswered questions continued to "bubble around" about the
information on which ministers took the country into war, and said
only an independent inquiry could restore public trust in the
"Unless this is cleared up there is a danger
that, were a similar circumstance to arise, Parliament and public
would not have the faith they have had in the past," he said.
Speaking in the Czech Republic, Mr Duncan Smith
said he was concerned about suggestions that weapons of mass
destruction might never be found in Iraq.
He said: "I think the implications are quite
grave. The Government has never at any stage announced such a
"We would therefore need more than ever that
inquiry we have called for, that judicial inquiry, to look very
carefully now at what information was presented to the British
people, why it was presented, and what the Government actually did
with that information."