Blair 'risked British lives to help out Bush'

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The sister of Margaret Hassan, the aid worker who was kidnapped and murdered in Iraq, yesterday accused Tony Blair of risking the lives of British forces to help the former US President George Bush.

Deidre Manchanda asked the Chilcot panel, which will hold an inquiry into the Iraq war, to investigate why 650 British troops were deployed to Baghdad in 2004, a place far more dangerous than their base in Basra, just before the US elections. "I want the committee to ask for what political reasons Mr Blair was being asked to do this by George Bush," she said.

What happened to Ms Hassan, who had lived in Baghdad for decades with her Iraqi husband, led to shock even in a city experiencing daily and savage violence. Her friends blamed the US-led occupation forces for helping to create a state of anarchy in which the aid worker, who held British and Irish nationality and was highly popular in the community, could be abducted.

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