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Raffle for Blair's inquiry testimony

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister and International Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair (R) addresses to media upon his arrival at the United Nation compound in Gaza City, 15 June 2009.(UPI Photo/Ismael Mohamad)
Former United Kingdom Prime Minister and International Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair (R) addresses to media upon his arrival at the United Nation compound in Gaza City, 15 June 2009.(UPI Photo/Ismael Mohamad) | License Photo

LONDON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Seats at the testimony of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair before a London inquiry into the Iraq war will be awarded in a raffle, officials said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered an investigation into the role London played in the planning stages for the Iraq war beginning in 2001 to when British forces ended their mission there last year.

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The inquiry in 2009 heard testimony from top defense intelligence officials outlining the role the British government played in the planning stages of the Iraq war starting as early as 2002.

The inquiry is expected to take up the legality of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 when it hears from Blair in the coming weeks.

John Chilcot, the chairman of the London inquiry, said the demand for seats at the inquiry for Blair's testimony warranted a public raffle.

He said the inquiry would hear from Blair within a two-week period beginning Jan. 25. The former premier will testify before the Chilcot panel for two days.

Separate seats are reserved for family members of British troops who died in the Iraq war.

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The inquiry last year heard that Blair during his administration was warned by his Attorney General Peter Goldsmith that going to war with Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein was illegal.

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