Tuesday, June 28 2016

Peers express concern over delay of Iraq Inquiry report

BBC News reports of the concerns expressed by members of the House of Lords over the delayed publication of the report by Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war. The report may now be delayed until 2013, ten years after the invasion.

From the BBC:

“Peers have expressed concerns about the length of time being taken by the Iraq Inquiry to publish its conclusions.

“The Chilcot committee is not expected to hand its final report to the prime minister until the end of 2013.

“Lib Dem peer Lord Dykes said there had been a "considerable delay" and the sooner it was published the better.

“The inquiry has been looking into the reasons why the UK joined the US and other nations in going to war against Saddam Hussein, as well as the UK's role in post-war Iraq since 2009 - the year British troops left the country.

“The last public hearing took place in February 2011, since when the five-strong committee has been drawing together the huge amount of evidence received and seeking the release of further classified documents from the government for inclusion in the report.

“In his latest update in July, Sir John Chilcot announced a further delay to the publication of the report - which was initially hoped would be finalised during 2012 but whose timetable has steadily slipped.”

The BBC states that certain peers have raised concern about the process known as ‘Maxwellisation’- where those criticised in the report be allowed time to respond – and its delaying effect. Lord Morris commented that, "If the report has been finalised, why is it going to take from now until the middle of next year for these consultations with those who are being criticised to take place?"

The BBC adds that Sir John Chilcot, who chairs the inquiry “is determined the inquiry's report would be "balanced, fair and accurate" but has warned the evidence - both oral and written - received by the inquiry was "not wholly consistent".”

The publication of the report has already been delayed due to the Government’s hesitance in releasing official documents to the inquiry. In August, it was reported that the Government had vetoed an order to disclose the minutes of cabinet meetings held before the 2003 invasion, whilst the FCO is appealing a decision by the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, ordering the disclosure of extracts from a conversation which took place between the then British Prime Minister and US President, Tony Blair and George Bush, days before the invasion. Doubts were also shed on the credibility of the inquiry in 2010 when a US embassy cable with a message from a senior official at the Ministry of Defence assuring that measures were in place to protect US interests during the inquiry, was leaked.

You can read the brief parliamentary debate in full, here.

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