The Mail on Sunday reports today that Sir John Chilcot, the former permanent secretary at the Northern Ireland Office who is chairing the inquiry, has identified a series of concerns. These include:
• failing to keep cabinet ministers fully informed of Blair's plans in the run-up to the invasion in March 2003. The committee is understood to have been impressed by the criticism voiced by Lord Butler of Brockwell, the former cabinet secretary, that Blair ran a sofa government.
• failing to make proper preparations for the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.
• failing to present intelligence in a proper way. In his inquiry into the use of intelligence, published in July 2004, Butler said the usual MI6 caveats were stripped out of the famous Downing Street arms dossier of September 2002.
• failing to be open with ministers about understandings Blair reached with George Bush in the year running up to the invasion.
Blair today hit out at the Mail on Sunday. A source close to the former prime minister said: "This is a deliberate attempt to pre-judge a report that hasn't even been written yet."
Angus Robertson, the SNP's leader at Westminster, said: "The tapestry of deceit woven by Tony Blair over the past decade has finally unravelled. Despite his best attempts to fudge the issue when he was called to give evidence, the Chilcot inquiry have recognised the former prime minister's central role in leading the UK into worst foreign policy disaster in recent history.
"While no inquiry will ever bring back those lost in Iraq, this comprehensive review by Sir John Chilcot will at least provide some explanation of the decisions which led to the disastrous invasion."