UKIP has launched a campaign demanding the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War be published before the General Election. The inquiry interviewed over a hundred witnesses and was finished in 2011 but yesterday it was announced its potentially explosive findings will not be publicly known until after the election.
There have been widespread rumours that Tony Blair’s lawyers had been delaying the publication to avoid embarrassment to the Labour Party. David Cameron has also been accused of wanting to see the report delayed so failings on the part of both main parties are not exposed.
As a result of the secrecy around the report it is impossible to know which party has most to lose, but the smaller parties like UKIP, the Green’s and the Liberal Democrats all opposed the war and as a result they are keen to see the inquiry published.
Commenting after the launch of www.releasechilcot.com today Nigel Farage said: “It beggars belief that here we are, four years after the end of the Chilcot Inquiry, still waiting for the report. It smacks of an establishment cover-up, and one which I suggest the British public will see right through.”
The website features a petition which says: “The Chilcot Inquiry was commissioned in 2009, to establish the facts surrounding Britain’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. The publicly funded inquiry interviewed more than 100 people, including the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“The inquiry was concluded by Sir John Chilcot in 2011, but still Britain’s political establishment refuses to release it. On Tuesday, 20th January 2015, the BBC stated that the report is now not due to be released until after the UK General Election.”
The website states: “The Iraq War was done in your name, with your money… This isn’t good enough. We deserve answers.” It goes on to say the war cost the taxpayer £10bn, 179 British soldiers’ lives and left 151,000 civilians dead. The group claims the country was left “mired” in “division and terror for the foreseeable future.”
UKIP’s Defence spokesperson Mike Hookem MEP said: “We are calling on people to sign this petition today because we all deserve answers. The war in Iraq, which led to our new enemies ISIS, cost around £10bn in public money, and far too much in blood. The British public must know, immediately, why we got involved in the first place, and why it went so horribly wrong.”
Whilst the campaign has been launched by UKIP they hope to secure support across the political divide.