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Anti-war activists demand Chilcot inquiry release

Delays mean the inquiry will not be released before the general election

ANTI-WAR campaigners yesterday demanded all information currently held by the Chilcot inquiry be placed in the public domain immediately.

Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot has written to Prime Minister David Cameron explaining that “very substantial progress” has been made in completing the six year probe but that it will not be ready before the general election.

He said “individuals are currently being given the opportunity to respond to provisional criticism of them in the inquiry’s draft report” as a reason for the further delay.

But Stop the War’s national officer Chris Nineham told the Star that “the idea of having a secret right of reply is ludicrous” and called for the £10 million inquiry to release its findings as they stand.

“It’s already in the public domain that Tony Blair has lied to Parliament over the Iraq war, so why the delay?

“It will come as no surprise if the findings are a whitewash,” he said, referring to the previous Butler and Hutton reports that have been widely condemned as such.

Mr Nineham predicts that damage limitation by the Blairite front bench of the time are reasons for the inquiry’s stalling.

But Mr Cameron repeatedly waded in to defend his Establishment colleagues against the suggestions that a cover-up was taking place.

“I don’t think that’s right at all,” he said outside No 10 before defending Tony Blair during PMQs insisting there is no evidence to suggest the former PM or other witnesses to the inquiry have tried to “artificially delay” the process or “dodge” criticism.

However the PM did express frustration that the inquiry would not be published before the general election in May.

How much to reveal of conversations between former US president George Bush and Tony Blair has also held up the inquiry, although Mr Chilcot’s letter states that an agreement has been reached on the detail of what was said between the two leaders.

A spokesman for the ex-PM said he “regrets” the delay.

“We have repeatedly said that it is not true to say that Tony Blair has caused the delay in the report’s publication,” he said.

Stop the War is monitoring developments and will call a protest at Parliament when Mr Chilcot answers questions about his report at the foreign affairs committee.


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