Chilcot inquiry Iraq war report delayed to 2013
Published: 16th Jul 2012 15:58:17
A report into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war and its aftermath will not be published this year as had been planned, the inquiry team has said.
Sir John Chilcot said he would not report before the middle of 2013 at the earliest - a decade after the war.
He said the report would be about a million words long, about twice the size of literary classic War and Peace.
Sir John said a "dialogue" with government was needed over access to secret documents.
Last November, the inquiry said it needed extra time to "do justice to the issue involved" and the earliest its conclusions would be handed to the prime minister was this summer.
But it has now announced a further delay, which is likely to result in the report not being completed until the end of next year.
In its first update on its work for seven months, the inquiry said it had made "extensive progress" in drafting its report, but the inquiry was "unprecedented" in scope and the issues were "complex".
The details came in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, released by the inquiry, from its chairman Sir John.
On the crucial issue of access to secret documents, Sir John said he hoped to begin a "dialogue" with the Cabinet Office later this year about the release of further declassified material.
He said "significant progress" had been made in obtaining access to important material, but more needed to be done.
"There are a number of particularly important categories of evidence, including the treatment of discussions in Cabinet and Cabinet committees and the UK position in discussions between the prime minister and the heads of state or government of other nations to be addressed," he said.
The BBC's security correspondent Gordon Corera said there had been an ongoing row between the inquiry and the Cabinet Office over certain documents - particularly notes sent by Tony Blair to President Bush and records of their discussions in the run-up to the conflict.
Before publication of a final report, letters need to be written to those who have participated, detailing what is being said about them, including any criticism of their conduct.
This process, which will take several months, is now thought unlikely to start before the middle of 2013.
The inquiry held 18 months of public hearings between the end of 2009 and early 2011, the last taking place in February 2011.
Those giving evidence included former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, senior Cabinet ministers during their governments, military commanders and diplomats.
At one hearing in early 2010, inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot expressed his frustration about his committee's inability to publish certain classified documents relating to Iraq policy.
Although the committee could see these documents, their public release had not been sanctioned by the government - a move also criticised by Lord Goldsmith, attorney general in the run-up to war.
One hundred and seventy-nine British troops were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2009, when UK forces left the country.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Chilcot inquiry Iraq war report delayed to 2013. [Online] (Updated 16 Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1440787-Chilcot-inquiry-Iraq-war-report-delayed-to-2013 [Accessed 19th May 2013]
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