It is said that a camel is a horse designed by committee, and there's something of a camel about the Government's solution to investigating the July 7 London bombings.

The Government had a number of options open to it, ranging from doing nothing to a full public inquiry.

I can understand why those two extremes were rejected. Doing nothing would be an insult to the 52 people who lost their lives. Their relatives will still have questions that deserve to be answered and, because these deaths were caused by suicide bombers, there will be no open court case, as in the Lockerbie bombing, in which the facts will come out publicly.

In addition, throwing a light on what happened could lead to vital lessons for the future being learned.

But, as the Government has indicated, a full scale public inquiry would be extremely demanding on security resources. It would also be extremely costly.

So, clearly people at the Home Office have sat down in a room and considered what they can come up with to satisfy the critics that the Government is serious about getting to the bottom of the bombings and open about any mistakes that may have been made.

The camel they have created, a "narrative of events" compiled by a senior civil servant, will do neither of these things.

What the Government must bear in mind is that if the proposed inquiry lacks credibility it will be forced to return to the subject.

The Widgery Inquiry set up in 1972 to investigate the Bloody Sunday shootings was widely regarded as lacking in credibility and important questions remained unanswered. Demands for a proper investigation continued for the next 26 years until, in 1998, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry began. It lasted seven years, called 900 witnesses and cost an estimated £150m.

So the Government really should try and get this right first time.

If all it wants is a narrative of events it might as well ask JK Rowling to do it. She's used to writing things and will do it in a far more readable style than any senior civil servant. But, of course, that would expose the failings in this particular plan.

Whoever leads the inquiry has to be seen to be totally independent of the Government and to have teeth. A civil servant never will be.

He or she should have experience of questioning senior figures. We must be confident they won't be intimidated by a chief constable or the Home Secretary sitting before them.

That's why a senior judge given power to call to interview, under oath, whoever they deem necessary would carry far more credibility. And their report should not only outline what happened but also provide firm conclusions as to what, if anything, went wrong and recommendations as to how such mistakes can be avoided in the future.

An inquiry into the July 7 bombings should provide answers that help the survivors and relatives of those killed to move on in their lives. It must also shed light on any failings in the system and if individual mistakes were made these should be identified.

Only in that way can we be confident that the Government has done everything possible to try to ensure there is no repeat of this atrocity.

Published: 16/12/2005