The slow crawl towards the publication of Sir John Chilcot’s Iraq Inquiry is to be delayed again, amid suspicion the government is postponing all controversial announcements until after June’s EU referendum.
The Iraq Inquiry officially began taking evidence in 2009, finishing the process of taking its main evidence in February 2011. It has not sat for well over four years. As Breitbart London reported last October, former Whitehall mandarin Sir John wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron telling him he hoped to complete the text of his report into the Iraq War in the week of 18th April 2016.
It is expected to be handed over next month, but despite previous claims from the Prime Minister that he would want the Iraq War report published within two weeks of receiving it, The Telegraph reports senior Government sources have confirmed it is likely to be published after the June 23 referendum.
Sir John’s report is expected to criticise senior political figures, and as such has the potential to erode public trust in the political establishment significantly. However, those who lost family members in the Iraq War have reacted angrily to claims the Government is attempting to minimise anything which could offend the electorate.
Reg Keys, whose 20-year-old son Lance Corporal Thomas Keys Thomas died in the war, said:
“I am not happy with any delays in this – it has gone on far far too long and it is just dragging out the agony of the families who want to draw a line under this.
“I can see no reason why a referendum should have any bearing upon the publication of the Chilcot inquiry, none whatsoever. I will be disappointed if this is another excuse for yet another delay for the referendum.”
Roger Bacon, father of Major Matthew Bacon was killed in 2005, added:
“As soon as it is delivered to the Prime Minister they must publish it as soon as they possibly can and there should be no artificial delay to it. To allow the referendum to get in the way of it seems to me to be completely wrong and smacks of political manoeuvrings that should not be taking place really.”
David Davis, the former shadow Home Secretary, called it “a disgraceful piece of media management”. He said he was seeking a motion with fellow Members of Parliament in the House of Commons demanding the Government publishes the report within the Prime Minister’s promised two weeks.
The delay to the Iraq War report is the latest in a series of announcements to be postponed, to potentially avoid controversy ahead of the EU vote. Others include the third runway at Heathrow, a Parliamentary vote on the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent, and the draft British bill of rights produced by Brexit supporting justice ministers Michael Gove and Dominic Raab.