Fresh call for Blair to face MPs’ on the run questions

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair

One Northern Ireland-born MP has said “only those who have something to hide fear scrutiny” as she made a fresh call for Tony Blair to appear before an official probe.

Kate Hoey (Labour, Vauxhall) was writing in Friday’s News Letter, as it emerged Tony Blair has not responded to a summons from the Northern Ireland Select Committee, which is investigating the ‘on the runs’ letter row.

A spokeswoman for the committee said on Thursday they had recieved no confirmation from the former Prime Minister, and it may be a case of simply waiting to see if he turns up on te specified date – January 14.

If not, he will be reported for contempt of Parliament.

The summons was issued last Wednesday after Mr Blair failed to supply dates when he would be available.

Those found in contempt used to be imprisoned under Big Ben.

This is no longer an option, but a spokeswoman said the reach of Parliament’s powers to of punish are “untested in modern times”.

She said the last time someone was punished for contempt of Parliament (namely newspaper editor John Junor) it was the 1950s.

At that time, the punishment took the form of a verbal reprimand.

Kate Hoey said “he would be very unwise to refuse” the summons.

She added: “Mr Blair must acknowledge that he has a responsibility to be accountable for his actions. He must appear before the committee so that we can question him on behalf of victims who just want the truth”.

Click here for her full statement.