Tony Blair appears before the Iraq Inquiry today to explain why he went to war in 2003, to rescue his reputation, and to reassure the County Durham voters who put their faith in him as their MP. Chris Lloyd gives Sir John Chilcot the questions he should ask Mr Blair to answer.

WHAT was the aim of your war: to destroy Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, or was it to change the regime in Iraq?

From the attack on the Twin Towers in September 2001 through to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, you attempted to persuade Parliament and the British public of the danger of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The most famous example of this was the 45 minutes claim in the September Dossier of 2002 when you said he could deploy weapons at 45 minutes’ notice.

Were you genuine in your desire to rid the region of Saddam’s WMD, or were you merely using it as a justification to get rid of Saddam?

Your former Cabinet Secretary, Lord Turnbull, has suggested to the Iraq Inquiry that you were really a regime changer all along, a view hinted at by your former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and a view confirmed by an entry in Alastair Campbell’s diary in April 2002. Indeed, in your recent TV interview with Fern Britton, you said that even without WMD, you would have thought it right to oust Saddam.

But starting a war with another country simply because you do not like its leader is illegal.

You would never have got away with it.

Therefore, I put it to you that you invented the 45 minutes claim as a cynical PR stunt and embarked upon an elaborate charade of attempting to get a second UN resolution while all the time telling George Bush you were committed to overthrowing Saddam by force.

WHEN did you commit British troops to a US-led invasion of Iraq?

Sir Christopher Meyer, then British ambassador to Washington, has told the inquiry that when you dined alone with Mr Bush at his Texan ranch in April 2002, you signed in blood a deal to go to war.

Alastair Campbell said that you exchanged private letters with Mr Bush confirming Britain would be there in the event of war. If you had committed British troops to this cause, what does it say about your view of your Cabinet colleagues, your backbenchers and the British people?

You treated them with arrogant contempt, not allowing the people’s representatives – the MPs – to have their say until March 18, 2003, on whether or not the country should go to war.

By then, there were more than 250,000 troops in the region. Was this just an uncanny coincidence, or was it because you had committed British troops so long in advance that the views of Parliament were irrelevant?

DID you doctor, or sex-up, the intelligence about Iraq’s WMD in order to make the case for war?

The intelligence agencies believed that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons, although The Butler Report described their evidence as limited, sporadic and patchy – descriptions echoed by witnesses to the inquiry.

In your foreword to the September Dossier, you said it was beyond doubt that Saddam had such weapons, and that he was a growing threat.

But Sir Roderic Lyne, a member of the Chilcot team, said the inquiry has been through thousands of reports and found nothing to substantiate this.

So why were you so unequivocally sure when the evidence was so patchy?

The September Dossier included the 45 minutes claim, which Sir David Omand, your security co-ordinator, has told the inquiry was just a bit of local colour. Jack Straw said its inclusion was an error that has haunted the Government ever since – yet without this dramatic revelation, you had nothing to convince the British public of Saddam’s danger.

So you spun a headline. And when the British press sexed it up by claiming that British soldiers in Cyprus could be hit by ballistic missiles that could be ready within 45 minutes, you said nothing.

Then we come to the dodgy dossier of February 2003, which you welcomed. But it turned out to have been so amateurishly cut-and-pasted from the internet that it contained the same typing errors. Surely no respectable government should try to convince its people of the merits of a war with such a dubious document?

WHY didn’t you take a broader view of all the legal advice before you?

If the inquiry has found anything new it is how all the lawyers in 2002 said that without a second UN resolution, war would be illegal.

Sir Michael Wood, the Foreign Office’s chief legal advisor, regularly told you: “In my opinion, the use of force had not been authorised by the Security Council, and had no other basis in international law.”

His deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, said in her resignation letter of March 18, 2003: “An unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to the crime of aggression.”

Right into February 2003, your Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith shared their view, calling for a second resolution. With the best legal brains in your government saying your plans were illegal, you still pressed on with your plans to go to war.

After a visit to the US, Lord Goldsmith changed his mind and gave you the green light.

You shared his advice with the Cabinet, Parliament and country, but shouldn’t you also have shared the fact that he was a lone voice and that most lawyers felt that you were taking the country into an illegal war?

DID you do enough to prepare for the aftermath of the invasion?

A succession of witnesses have referred to the catastrophic lack of planning which saw Iraq spiral into violence, with Major General Tim Cross revealing that he even urged you on the eve of the invasion to delay the attack so that proper preparations could be made.

DID you provide sufficient resources for British forces?

Former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said the forces were underfunded in the years leading up to the invasion and then had their future equipment budget slashed once it was over.

Much of the equipment had to be ordered at the last minute, as you did not allow detailed military planning to start until November 2002 as you said you didn’t want to undermine the search for the second UN resolution.

Or perhaps you would prefer the Chancellor of the day, Gordon Brown, to answer this question about underfunding?

Thank you for your time, Mr Blair. You are free to go.

■ TOMORROW: The verdict on Mr Blair’s performance