UK Parliament pressed over Iraq inquiry report

Marwan Sultan in London, January, 13, 2015, Tuesday 13 Jan 2015

A cross-party group of UK MPs are trying to make sure an inquiry conducted on the 2003 Iraq war is published before upcoming elections

House of Commons
File Photo: Members of the UK’s Parliament are seen attending a session of Parliament in the House of Commons, in this still image taken from video, in London, on August 29, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

A group of UK Parliament members has asked for debate that they hope will lead to the long-awaited publication of a final report of inquiry into the 2003 Iraq war.

The inquiry, chaired by Sir John Chilcot, was held between autumn 2009 and early February 2011. It probed the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, military action and its aftermath.

It  considered the UK's involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned.

There have been prolonged discussions in the UK on which documents, evidence and testimonies would be allowed to be made public.

A cross-party group of MPs have asked the Backbench Business Committee for a debate in House of Commons, hoping that the move will allow them to press for publication of the inquiry report by the middle of February, before general elections in May.

 The MPs, including former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, said they were concerned the report would not be published before May's election.

Despite the fact that the inquiry was concluded about 4 years ago, the Parliament has no idea when the report will be published.

“The Iraq Inquiry was originally expected to have been reported by now but the broad scope of the inquiry and the amount of evidence have led to delays in publication, and it is now unclear whether it will be published soon or delayed until after the May 2015 general election,” the House of Commons said in a statement published on its web site.

The government has repeatedly denied that it is unduly blocking the release of documents, although many press reports talked about rows between the Cabinet Office and those conducting the inquiry over the declassification of documents, including private messages from former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Civil servants are said to be worried that the revelation of private conversations between the then prime minister and former US President George W, Bush would do lasting damage to the relations between the UK and the US.

The inquiry, which had no judicial jurisdiction, includes interviews from a list of political, security and military figures including Tony Blair, former foreign secretary, former air chief marshal Jock Stirrup and Hans Blix of the UN Monitoring Commission at the time, among others

The inquiry cost the UK taxpayers more than £9 million.

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