LONDON - Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other members of his government will not appear before an inquiry into the Iraq war until after a general election next year, the inquiry team said on Wednesday.

John Chilcot, who is leading the inquiry, has said that he wants it to remain outside of party politics. Public hearings will be suspended from February until after the election which must be held by June.

Former prime minister Tony Blair, who led Britain into the war with Iraq in 2003, will appear before the inquiry early in the new year. Alastair Campbell, Blair's former director of communications, has also been asked to appear in either January or February.

Blair said earlier this month he believed it was right to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power even though no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

Blair's order to send 45,000 British troops to take part in the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein provoked big anti-war protests in London.

Blair's alliance with U.S. President George W. Bush alienated many supporters of Labour, which has been in power since 1997.

Along with Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander will also not appear until after the election.