Tony Blair to give Iraq Inquiry testimony 'in public'
Blair Iraq inquiry evidence 'will be public'
The chairman of the Iraq Inquiry has insisted Tony Blair will give evidence in public, while rejecting claims the panel is being too secretive.
Sir John Chilcot said his team had not been "trying to ambush witnesses or score points", but denied they had not been tough enough on witnesses so far.
Mr Blair is due to appear before the inquiry in the New Year.
In his statement, Sir John also said hearings would not take place during next year's general election campaign.
"We are determined to remain firmly outside party politics," he said.
"We have informed members of Parliament that we are ready to meet them if they want an explanation of our working methods, but the inquiry should not be used as a platform for political advantage."
Sir John made his remarks before suspending public hearings of the inquiry for Christmas.
Earlier this week, the live video feed of a witness's testimony was halted for just over a minute for reasons of national security, prompting some accusations of secrecy.
But Sir John said there was "an exceptional level of openness", which had led to a huge amount of "valuable and illuminating evidence" being gleaned already.
AT THE INQUIRY
BBC World Affairs correspondent Peter Biles
Over the past four weeks, there have been some suggestions that the mood inside the inquiry room is too cosy. The Liberal Democrats have likened it to "a gentlemen's club".
But in his statement today, Sir John sought to justify the committee's methodical approach, insisting: "We are not here to provide public sport or entertainment."
So a picture of what happened in Iraq between 2001 and 2009 is slowly being built up, piece by piece. We now know that the inquiry has not yet asked the government to declassify documents to allow them to be published. This will be done as ministers and other senior figures are called to give evidence in the new year.
When the public hearings resume in January, all eyes will be on Tony Blair and his justification for taking Britain to war.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.