As reported in the Daily Telegraph:
Date for Iraq report after EU vote branded a ‘stitch up’
The official inquiry into the Iraq War will be published in July, less than a fortnight after the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in a move branded a “stitch up” by anti-EU MPs.
Sir John Chilcot, the chairman of the inquiry, told David Cameron, the Prime Minister, in a letter that the intelligence agencies had finished checking the report and had agreed there were no national security implications. However, he said that his team needed two months to proofread, format and print the 2.6-million-word report, which means that it will be published on July 6, two weeks after the EU referendum.
Pro-Brexit campaigners have already said they feared the report would be delayed until after the June 23 EU referendum to avoid embarrassing key In campaigners.
Tony Blair, the Labour prime minister at the time of the 2003 conflict, is expected to be criticised in the report.
David Davis, the former shadow Tory home secretary, said the delay was based on the “thinnest of excuses” and it looked like the publication of the report had been pushed back deliberately until after the EU vote.
He said: “At long last at least it will give some comfort and closure to the loved ones of the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Nevertheless it is still outrageous that this vital report should have been delayed for so long, for seven years in total.
“Even worse it is now delayed on the thinnest of excuses until after the EU referendum and it is the most disgraceful thing of all to put the stitching up of the referendum ahead of the rights of the families of the Iraqi war dead.”
Sources at the inquiry said the timing of the referendum had no bearing on the publication date.
As reported in the Daily Mail:
Families Fury at July 6 Date for Release of Chilcot
Families of British soldiers killed in the Iraq war were said to be dismayed’ yesterday that the long-awaited report into the conflict will not be published for another two months.
Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot revealed last night that he would release the 2.6million word document on July 6 – less than a fortnight after the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.
Bereaved relatives – desperate to learn the truth about why Tony Blair sent their sons and daughters to die in the disastrous war that ended seven years ago – fear the report’s impact will be reduced in the fallout from the vote.
Critics also believe David Cameron, who agreed the release date with Sir John, is keen to delay controversial announcements until after the June 23 referendum amid concerns of a public backlash.
So far the inquiry, which is expected to criticise senior figures, has taken more than six years and cost the taxpayer £10million. Security checks on the document were completed last Friday without the need for any redactions. But Sir John provoked anger by insisting he would need another two months to prepare the document for publication.
Matthew Jury, a lawyer at McCue & Partners which is representing 29 families, said: The families are dismayed at this further delay. With all the resources of the state at its disposal, the inquiry’s claim it needs two months to proof-read and format the report simply isn’t credible.’
Tory MP David Davis said the unconscionable’ delay would further pile agony on the families.
He said: They have waited long enough for the publication of this report, a wait that will finally come to an end.
But it is still a disgrace for the report to be delayed a further two months until after the EU referendum, just because the Government is worried about what impact the report may have on the referendum.’
A total of 179 British service personnel were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2009. The Chilcot inquiry is looking at the UK’s decision to take part in the invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein, whether troops were properly prepared, how the conflict was conducted and what planning there was for its aftermath.