Geoff Hoon to appear before Iraq inquiry

Former defence secretary likely to face questions over troop numbers and equipment shortages

Geoff Hoon will face questions over the build-up to the Iraq war today as he become the first former cabinet minister to appear before the Chilcot inquiry.

Hoon, defence secretary at the time of the invasion in 2003, is expected to appear for two three-hour sessions later and is likely to be pressed on troop numbers and equipment shortages. His appearance comes two weeks after he led a failed attempt to unseat Gordon Brown by holding a secret ballot on his leadership.

On Thursday the former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, will appear for a single three-hour session and on 29 January former Prime Minister Tony Blair will give evidence for a full day.

Opposition parties have called for Brown to appear at the inquiry before an expected May election. The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey said: "Gordon Brown is now the only major government player missing from the line-up at the Iraq inquiry before the election.

"By the time the UK chooses its next government, we will have heard from the men primarily responsible for Britain's decision to commit troops, but not the man who signed the cheques."


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