BBC News covers the debate in the House of Lords yesterday prompted by a question posed by Lord Dykes on the delays to the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry report.
Lord Dykes tabled the question:
“To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will hold discussions with the administrators of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war to ascertain a date for publication.”
The Leader of the House of Lords, Lord Hill, responded:
“My Lords, the Government do not have any plans to hold such a discussion with the Iraq inquiry. Sir John Chilcot advised the Prime Minister last July that the inquiry would be in a position to begin the process of giving those subject to criticism in the report the opportunity to make representations by the middle of 2013, and that the inquiry would submit its report once that process had been completed.”
Baroness Williams, raising the issue of lessons to be learnt and the knock-on effect to improvements in decision making presented by further delays to the report’s publication, stated:
“…the lessons to be learnt from an inquiry—and the lessons to be learnt from this are probably among the most important of all— depend a little on the passage of time between the findings of that inquiry and the use of those lessons to affect policy. I ask him to bear in mind, as he considers this, the gap between the necessary and right attempt to give people the right to respond, but also the importance of the conclusions for the future work of this Government’s policy as well as the policy of the Opposition. “
The 10th anniversary of the decision to invade Iraq was marked last month and four years on from the establishment of the Chilcot Inquiry, in 2009, the prospect of full disclosure about the evidence and arguments that informed that decision grow ever more remote.