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25-02-2010

Ballot drawn for seats at Gordon Brown's public hearing

A ballot to allocate seats in the hearing room for Gordon Brown’s appearance at the Iraq Inquiry on March 5th took place on Wednesday 24 February 2010. A total of 323 valid entries were received.

All the people who were successful in the ballot will be notified in the next few days.

There are sixty seats in the hearing room for Mr Brown’s evidence session. There were due to be separate ballots for members of the public and for families who lost loved ones in Iraq. As only one family applied for tickets, they were automatically given seats. The rest of the seats were allocated to the public.

Mr Brown's evidence is being split into two sessions, and separate draws were carried out for each session. Over the course of the hearing the two sessions will provide 120 places in the hearing room for members of the public and families. A changeover will take place during the lunch break.

There is also an additional viewing facility for the public, with over 150 seats in a separate viewing room. The places for this were also drawn in the ballot. This means that in total 243 people will be able to come to the Inquiry venue on the day Mr Brown gives evidence to the Inquiry.

The ballot was overseen by Karamjit Singh CBE, who is currently the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman and the Social Fund Commissioner for both Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He was formerly a member of the Electoral Commission. Mr Singh was asked to provide independent oversight of the ballot and confirm that it was conducted in a fair and transparent manner. Mr Singh has signed an undertaking to this effect.

Only those named individuals with tickets will be able to gain entry to the QEII conference centre on the day of the hearing. Anyone who was unsuccessful in the ballot will be able to watch the proceedings on the Inquiry's website. It is also likely that the main UK broadcasters will show extended coverage of the Gordon Brown hearing on their news channels.