The Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq War has received the final responses from the people the report is set to criticise, the commission’s chair has said.
Sir John Chilcott has been waiting for the so-called ‘Maxwellisation’ process to conclude, a measure that involves giving everyone mentioned in a negative light a chance to respond.
“In my statement I said that the Inquiry expected to receive the last Maxwell response shortly. I am pleased to confirm that it has now done so," Sir John wrote in a letter to the Foreign Affairs Committee chair Crispin Blunt.
However, he said the responses received by those criticised were so comprehensive that it would take time to sift through them.
No timetable has yet been set for completion of the report, which was set up in 2009 as an inquiry into a war that started in 2003.
“There is, inevitably, further work for my colleagues and I to do to evaluate those submissions, which are detailed and substantial, in order to establish with confidence the time needed to complete the Inquiry’s remaining work,” he said.
The Iraq War: A timeline
The Iraq War: A timeline
1/16 11 September 2001
Terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda use hijacked aeroplanes to kill 2,996 people in attacks on the east coast of the US.
2/16 12 September 2001
Tony Blair promises George W Bush that the UK will support the US, whatever the President decides to do.
3/16 25 March 2002
Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, warns Blair that invading Iraq would be legally dubious.
4/16 June 2002
Tony Blair asks defence officials to outline options for UK participation in military action against Iraq.
5/16 24 September 2002
The government publishes a dossier about the threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. A foreword by Tony Blair states that Saddam Hussein’s “military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them”. It is subsequently alleged that this dossier was “sexed up” for political reasons.
6/16 2 October 2002
Congress authorises President Bush to use military force against Iraq.
7/16 8 November 2002
UN Security Council passes resolution 1441, insisting that weapons inspectors be allowed back into Iraq and calling on the regime to give up its WMD or face the consequences.
8/16 18 July 2003
David Kelly, an expert in biological warfare, is found dead after being named as the source of quotations used by the BBC’s Andrew Gilligan to suggest that the dossier of September 2002 had been “sexed up”. Lord Hutton is appointed to chair a judicial inquiry into his death.
9/16 13 December 2003
Saddam Hussein is captured near Tikrit, after nine months in hiding.
10/16 2 March 2004
Bombings in Baghdad and Karbala kill nearly 200 people: the worst attacks since the fall of Saddam.
11/16 14 September 2005
Bombs in Baghdad kill 160 people and injure more than 500.
12/16 30 December 2005
Saddam Hussein is executed.
13/16 28 May 2009
The last British combat troops leave Iraq.
14/16 24 November 2009
The Chilcot inquiry holds its first public hearing.
15/16 2 February 2011
The Chilcot inquiry holds its final public hearing.
16/16 21 January 2015
Sir John Chilcot confirms that his report will not be published before the general election in May 2015.
“As soon as I am able to I shall write to the Prime Minister with a timetable for publication of the Inquiry’s report.”
Mr Blunt warned last month that setting a deadline on the inquiry would “wreck” its independence.
“The inquiry which is independent and sets its own procedure has determined how it is going to conduct itself,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme at the time.
The term “Maxwellisation” comes from the name of the publisher Robert Maxwell, who set a legal precedent after he took issue with a government report.
Those expected to be criticised in the report include former prime minister Tony Blair and those close to him.