Gordon Brown will this week announce an inquiry into the Iraq War as he pushes ahead with his fightback after surviving a coup attempt by restive MPs.
Sources confirmed that the move was expected in a statement to Parliament over the course of the week.
But already controversy was mounting over reports that it will be held behind closed doors.
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The announcement, designed to bolster Mr Brown’s standing among MPs and activists who opposed the 2003 conflict, comes as the row over his leadership continues to rumble on.
Former deputy prime minister John Prescott issued a sharp rebuke to David Miliband for an interview in which he confirmed he had considered quitting the Cabinet at the height of the leadership crisis.
Mr Prescott accused Mr Miliband of feeding disunity and said his suspicions about the Foreign Secretary’s motives were fuelled when he saw him in intense discussions with leading Blairite Alan Milburn in Westminster last week.