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Chilcot agrees compromise on Blair-Bush letters

Chilcot agrees compromise on Blair-Bush letters

Categories: Latest News

Monday June 02 2014

The delay to the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry report is back in the news today with reports about a deal struck by the cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, with Sir John Chilcot, chair of the Inquiry.

Delays which may defer the publication of the long-awaited report until the end of this year, more than 5 years after the Inquiry set out to investigate events in the run up to the Iraq war, have been caused by ongoing negotiations between the Inquiry and the Cabinet Office over correspondence and telephone conversations between former PM Tony Blair and George Bush.

The Inquiry has now established that it will be able to publish a “small number of extracts” from “25 of Tony Blair’s notes to George Bush in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and more than 130 records of conversations” to present “quotes or gists” in the final report but that this “should not reflect President Bush’s views”.

Sir John in a letter to Sir Jeremy alludes to the compromise that has been struck writing “Consideration [to print] will be based on the principle that our use of this material should not reflect President Bush’s views. We have also agreed that the use of direct quotation from the documents should be the minimum necessary to enable the inquiry to articulate its conclusions.”

The Daily Mail, which puts the news on its front page today, calls the compromise a whitewashRichard Norton-Taylor in an article in The Guardian writes that the compromise may now allow the Inquiry to scrutinise “the promises or messages Blair gave Bush without telling the British parliament or public”. However, with only ‘small extracts’ and ‘quotes or gists’ appearing in the final report, the likelihood of our receiving a fulsome answer to these questions remains to be seen.


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