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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 13:55 GMT
PM defends bomb inquiry decision
Warren Street station
Charles Clarke said a murder investigation was continuing
The prime minister has defended the government's decision not to hold a public inquiry into the 7 July London bombings, amid heavy criticism.

Victims' representatives, opposition MPs and Muslim leaders said an inquiry was needed for lessons to be learned.

Ministers have said they will instead publish a definitive account of what happened, in a written narrative.

Tony Blair said: "I do accept that people want to know exactly what happened. We will make sure they do."

The attacks by four suicide bombers on three Tube trains and a bus on 7 July killed 52 people and injured hundreds.

'Real crisis'

Mr Blair said it was already known "essentially" what happened on 7 July and said there would be up to five Commons select committee inquiries.

A narrative of events will not satisfy anybody - this is not something we will go away on
Saba Mozakka, whose mother Behnaz died in the Piccadilly Line bomb attack

"If we ended up having a full scale public inquiry... we would end up diverting a massive amount of police and security service time and I don't think it would be sensible," he said.

He added that the written narrative - to be compiled by a senior civil servant - would include all of the evidence the government had.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has stressed that, although the bombers were dead, police were still investigating their links to other individuals.

Any public inquiry could affect the police investigation or any future prosecution, he said.

'More robust'

But the Muslim Council of Britain's Sir Iqbal Sacranie said without a public inquiry, "we will not be able to deal with the real crisis".

Written by a senior civil servant
Quote from intelligence sources
A one-off report
Public Inquiry:
Overseen by an independent chairman
Bring out facts in public hearings
An ongoing process

He said: "This tragic event has resulted in the loss of more than 50 innocent lives... We need to ensure that this sort of criminal event should not repeat itself."

Sir Iqbal said an inquiry would be "far more robust" than the government's offer of a narrative.

Immediately after the bombings there were calls for a public inquiry, but ministers said it would divert attention and resources away from pressing security and community issues, and take too long.

Saba Mozakka, whose mother Behnaz died in the King's Cross blast, said it was "unacceptable" not to hold a public inquiry and families would continue to campaign for one.

"A narrative of events will not satisfy anybody. This is not something we will go away on," she said.

Warning level

Colin Ettinger, a solicitor representing some of the victims, told BBC Radio Five Live a published narrative was insufficient.

He said none of the government measures were in-depth enough to allow lessons to be learned and safety measures to be improved.

Shadow minister for homeland security Patrick Mercer said clarification was needed on all the details of the attacks.

He told the BBC he wanted to know why the government reduced the level of warning five weeks before the attack.

"I think it's time that we fully understood what happened and most importantly... make sure that we've learned the lessons so that this isn't going to happen again - or if it does, that the effects of it can be mitigated," he said.

Hear from some of the victims' families

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