LONDON, June 19 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown backed away from his demands for privacy for an inquiry into the circumstances leading up to and during the Iraq war.
Brown in a speech before the House of Commons on Monday ordered an examination into the circumstances leading up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that overthrew the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein.
"Taking into account national security considerations," said Brown, "evidence will be heard in private."
His comments were met with a flurry of frustration by British lawmakers, already upset over the fallout from a Cabinet shakeup and the unprecedented resignation of Parliament Speaker Michael Martin.
Brown, however, in a letter to John Chilcot, the chairman of the Iraq inquiry, called for an open session on the examination to explain the details to the public.
In a statement to British newspaper The Independent, Brown further acknowledged he would open the inquiry to public scrutiny.
"I am in favor of openness and transparency and we balance that with the interests of national security and the desire of people to give the information they want to the inquiry," the statement read.
Brown announced the end to British combat operations in Iraq on April 30. His predecessor, Tony Blair, joined Washington in making the case that Saddam posed an international security threat for harboring a program of weapons of mass destruction.