Page last updated at 05:26 GMT, Saturday, 30 January 2010

Papers dissect Tony Blair's evidence at Iraq inquiry

Papers

Tony Blair's appearance at the Iraq inquiry is examined in detail in the papers with the Times among those to focus on his apparent lack of regret.

The paper reckons he "brought trouble on himself by failing to show the contrition" his detractors wanted.

But it says the inquiry "largely failed to breach his defences" and he gave a "fluent, assured performance".

Sketchwriter Ann Treneman says he was intense early on but soon began to glow with "something close to righteousness".

Robust defence

Writing in the Guardian, Simon Jenkins says Mr Blair "slowly established dominance" over the inquiry panel.

"Within an hour they were listening mute to a seminar on neoconservatism for slow learners," he notes.

The Independent concludes that Mr Blair's final words appear to confirm that the removal of Saddam Hussein was always his plan.

In its editorial, the paper says Mr Blair defended himself robustly, but laments the lack of tough questions.

'Characteristically persuasive'

The Daily Telegraph reports on the protests outside the inquiry under the headline "Hanging crowd bays for blood as Blair faces his inquisitors".

Inside, the panel raised their game but Mr Blair remained "unfazed", it notes.

The Telegraph's editorial says Mr Blair was at his "most characteristically persuasive" when he talked about the potential "menace" had the war not taken place.

The Sun too touches on his contention that Iraq would have built up a nuclear arsenal had Saddam not been toppled.

Heckling

The Daily Mirror suggests Mr Blair's "legal expertise enabled him to swerve difficult areas with ease".

But the paper says he was a "leader who made a calamitous misjudgement" and it it is "unfortunate" that his premiership will be defined by Iraq.

The Daily Express reckons Mr Blair's version of events "just will not wash".

The Daily Mail, meanwhile, reports on heckling from the public gallery when relatives of dead soldiers realised they would not hear an apology.



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