The Inquiry announced on 8 December that when the former Prime Minister, Rt Hon Tony Blair, gives further public evidence to the Inquiry Committee, seats in the hearing room will be allocated via a public ballot.
Given the expected high level of demand for seats in the 60-seat hearing room for this session the Inquiry has again decided that a ballot represents the best way to ensure those who wish to attend have an equal chance of doing so. As was the case when Mr Blair gave evidence to the Inquiry in January 2010, a third of the seats in the hearing room will be reserved for the families of those Armed Forces personnel and British citizens who died or are missing in Iraq; these seats will be allocated by a separate ballot.
Mr Blair’s hearing will take place over a half day between 18 January and 04 February. The exact timetable for the public hearings in 2011 will be published on the Iraq Inquiry website one week in advance, normally on a Monday.
1. How will the ballot work?
The ballot will be run as a lottery with numbered tickets representing applicants. It will be independently overseen by a party external to the Inquiry Committee and its Secretariat.
Before the main public ballot, a draw will take place to allocate seats in the hearing room reserved for the families of Armed Forces personnel who died in Iraq or British citizens who died in Iraq or are missing. Any families who are unsuccessful in the families’ ballot will automatically be included in the subsequent main public draw.
The main public draw will also be the primary means for allocating the majority of seats in the additional viewing facility in the QEII Centre and the reserve list for the hearing room.
2. How can I apply?
Application forms are available to download. Please click here for the form for public applications or here for the families’ form.
Alternatively if you wish to be sent a form you can request one from the Inquiry via firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to the Inquiry at: Public Ballot, Iraq Inquiry, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ.
Please follow the instructions carefully when completing the application form.
3. Where do I need to send the form?
Completed forms should be posted to: Public Ballot, Iraq Inquiry, 35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ. Please note the Inquiry is unable to accept forms electronically. Forms submitted electronically will not be included in the ballot.
4. What’s the deadline for applications?
Completed forms need to be submitted to the Inquiry by midday on Friday 7 January 2011. Late applications will not be accepted including envelopes post marked 7 January if they did not arrive on this date. The Iraq Inquiry cannot be held responsible for the non-receipt of forms.
5. How many seats are available?
There are around 60 seats1 available in the hearing room of which a third will be reserved for families.
6. How many tickets can I apply for?
If you are successful in the public ballot this will provide the named individual on the application one ticket to the hearing room. Please note only one application is permitted per person.
For the families ballot, a maximum of two seats will be allocated per application; only one application is permitted for each deceased or missing person.
7. When will the ballot take place?
The ballot will take place in the week beginning 10 January 2011
8. How will I know if I’ve been successful?
The Inquiry will notify you if you are successful for either the hearing room or additional viewing facility. You will be sent details on what you need to do to attend the QEII Centre on the day of the hearing. Please note the Inquiry will only contact those who have been successful in the ballot. No correspondence will be entered into with those who are unsuccessful in the ballot.
9. What if I don’t get a seat in the hearing room?
As it does for other witness sessions the Inquiry will make provision for an additional viewing facility within the QEII Centre for those unable to be in the hearing room. Access to this room will primarily be determined by the result of the ballot and there is a space on the form for you to indicate whether you want to be considered for the Additional Viewing Room. You will be notified if you have been allocated a ticket for the additional viewing facility and if you are on the ‘reserve’ list for the hearing room.
10. What are the rules for the ballot?
The rules of the ballot (and how to complete the application form correctly) are set out in the ballot form. The following rules apply for the public ballot:
These rules must be complied with or your application or tickets will be declared void. Please follow the instructions for completing application forms carefully.
11. Who will provide the independent oversight?
An announcement will be made in due course.
12. Can I just turn up on the day?
No. On this particular day we again anticipate a high level of interest in the Inquiry’s proceedings. This is why we have decided to ballot tickets, including for the additional viewing facility. Only those with a valid ticket will gain access.
13. How else can I see the proceedings?
As with all the Inquiry’s hearings, they will be streamed as live2 on the internet via the Inquiry’s website. The hearings are also available for TV broadcast and UK broadcasters may choose to broadcast the hearings on news channels.
1 Please note the number of seats available in the hearing room is subject to change depending on access or other requirements
2 The webstream and broadcast images of the Inquiry are subject to a one minute delay