Hopes for Chilcot Inquiry to be published before 2015 election
Categories: Latest News
Thursday October 30 2014
The Daily Mirror and BBC News report on the ‘hope’ expressed by the Leader of the House of Commons, William Hague, that the Chilcot Inquiry report into the Iraq war will be published before the 2015 general election.
Hague’s comments follow a demand by Conservative MP Keith Simpson to know whether the long awaited report would be published “this side of the general election…or is it going to be… something that we will expect in 50 years’ time?”
The publication of the Chilcot report has been persistently postponed despite the war having been launched over a decade ago and the Inquiry having begun its work in July 2009; more than five years ago. The Inquiry was expected to publish its findings at the end of last year. The Daily Mirror notes the Prime Minister’s subsequent suggestion that the report would be released by the end of this year.
Delays have been heavily criticised particularly by the Home Office Minister Norman Baker who expressed his concerns earlier this year that the Inquiry’s conclusions into Britain’s role in the US led invasion of Iraq “have yet to see the light of day”.
The Iraq Inquiry held public hearings over 18 months between the end of 2009 and early 2011. In addition, the Inquiry examined the context of the war, the conduct of military operations, the UK’s role in post-war security and governance and heard evidence from senior politicians, officials, military commanders including former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
It is expected that the closer the report’s publication comes to the general election, the more anxious Labour will be at the prospect of its being used as a ‘political football’ to put off voters.
BBC News notes Lord Owen’s warning that if the report is not published early in 2015, it might have to be delayed until after the general election in order to avoid the Inquiry becoming politicised.
Keith Simpson MP voiced his concerns over the costs of the Inquiry, both financial and in terms of public confidence in the political process, in a debate in the House yesterday. Simpson pointed to the negative impact of the delays stating:
“On the costs in terms of public confidence in Government transparency and the decision to go to war, I understand the practical problems behind the delay, which I have outlined, but the longer the Chilcot inquiry continues without publication, the greater will be the public’s suspicion that the process is not transparent. In addition, the central part of the report, which is about learning lessons, will become mainly historical, although we know that such lessons could have been relevant to more recent events.”
He further called a debate on the costs of the Inquiry with figures disclosed over the summer claiming that £1,537,100 was expended upon the Iraq Inquiry in the financial year 2013/14, contributing to a total cost of £9,016,500 since the launch of the Inquiry in 2009.