By Ray Fleming “NO Frost-Nixon Moment Yet” said a blog headline yesterday afternoon about the Chilcot-Blair encounter. Frost got past Nixon's defences by lulling him into a false sense of security but there was no chance of that happening between the Iraq War Inquiry team and the hyper-alert former prime minister.

From the start Mr Blair placed considerable emphasis on the change in what he called the “calculus of risk” caused by Al-Qaeda's 9/11 attack on the United States and this led him into what was perhaps his one big mistake of the day. Speaking about Saddam Hussein he said that “by any objective assessment the threat posed by the Iraqi leader from chemical and biological weapons had not changed since 9/11.” Why, then, he was asked, did he tell the House of Commons in September 2002 that Saddam Hussein's weapons programme was “active, detailed and growing. The weapons of mass destruction programme is not shut down. It is up and running now.”

Mr Blair's evidence, which lasted for some six hours, will need careful analysis and cross-checking with other evidence already heard and still to come at the Inquiry. But there were some passages that grated immediately: “This isn't about a lie, or a conspiracy, or a deceit or a deception -- this is a decision.” But can't a decision be conspiratorial, deceitful or deceptive?