Sir John Chilcot: no pressure to delay Iraq report
Sir John Chilcot tells MPs his long-awaited report on the Iraq war will be released as soon as possible and denies he was put under pressure to delay publication because of the election.
Speaking to the Commons foreign affairs committee, the chairman of the Iraq inquiry also refuted claims that witnesses had used the so-called “Maxwellisation” process to slow down proceedings.
This involves contacting individuals criticised in draft form so they have an opportunity to respond.
He said he had “no reason to think” anyone had sought to “spin out” the process, but was not going to give those criticised an “indefinite amount of time” to respond.
Sir John said he could not accuse government departments of “unreasonableness”, was satisfied with the evidence that had been made available to him, and did not believe there had been “an unreasonable refusal to authorise disclosure at this point”.
‘As soon as we possibly can’
He said the inquiry would report “as soon as we possibly can”, but he repeated that he saw “no realistic prospect” of it being finished before May’s general election.
He explained he had accepted a summons to explain why the report had taken so long because he recognised the “exceptionally high level of parliamentary and public interest in our progress”.