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Chilcot report must be published, says Clegg

Chilcot report must be published, says Clegg

Categories: Latest News

Tuesday April 15 2014

After yesterday’s story in the Independent about the Chilcot report’s likely deferral until 2015, the GuardianTimes and Independent all report on a spat between the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and former PM, Tony Blair, over the reasons for the ongoing publication delay.

At a Westminster press conference, the Deputy PM, who has previously written about the lessons to be learnt from the lead-up to the Iraq War, called for the report to be published without delay saying:

“But I do hope now that everybody involved, including those who know they will be subject to renewed scrutiny within the Chilcot report, that they will now accept that it is time to get this report published so that the record can be scrutinised in the most objective way possible. This was one of the most momentous, in my view one of the most catastrophic decisions in British foreign policy — I would say the most catastrophic decision — since Suez.

“It is quite right that we learn the lessons, we understand the truth and that those who might not like to be subject to further scrutiny subject themselves to the further scrutiny which will be . . . in the Chilcot report.”

Tony Blair’s office issued a firm rebuttal on what it took to be an implied claim that the former PM was among ‘those who know they will be subject to renewed scrutiny within the Chilcot report’. In a statement the former PM’s office said,

“If Nick Clegg is implying Tony Blair is the reason for the delay that is completely wrong. Tony Blair has as much reason as anyone for wanting the report published.

“Not least because it gives him a chance to defend himself against Nick Clegg’s assertion that removing Saddam Hussein from power was ‘the most catastrophic decision since Suez’, whilst daily the consequences of inaction over Syria become ever more apparent.”

Tony Blair is not alone among former Ministers expected to come under ‘renewed scrutiny’ over their role in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. In testimony presented to the Chilcot Inquiry in 2010 by Sir Michael Wood, former chief legal adviser at the Foreign Office, and his deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the extent to which the Blair government roundly ignored the legal advice of international law experts and pressured them to reconsider their views on the illegality of declaring war on Iraq, in the absence of a second UN resolution, was made apparent.


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