Chilcot inquiry: Blair and Straw to get warning letters ahead of publication of report into 2003 invasion of Iraq

Anyone criticised in public inquiries is entitled to see and challenge extracts related to them

Mark Leftly
Monday 21 July 2014 11:43
Comments
In the frame: Tony Blair and Jack Straw face the press in 2003
In the frame: Tony Blair and Jack Straw face the press in 2003

Sir John Chilcot, chair of the public inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is poised to send formal letters to those whose conduct he criticises in his final report.

The then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, are among those expected to be sent what are known as "Salmon" or "Maxwellisation" letters in the coming weeks. Anyone criticised in public inquiries is entitled to see and challenge extracts related to them before publication. The letters are named after Lord Salmon, who held a public ethics inquiry in the 1970s, and the late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell, who challenged the way criticisms of his dealings were handled in a public report.

The long-running inquiry is examining the period from summer 2001 to the end of July 2009, taking in the run-up to the Iraq war, the conflict and its aftermath. The final report has been delayed, latterly as Sir John negotiated with Sir Jeremy Heywood, the country's most senior civil servant, as to what he could publish.

The limits on what can be published led to criticism that the inquiry could end up being a "whitewash" of a war that divided the nation and tarnished Mr Blair's 10-year premiership. However, Sir John and the Cabinet Office now appear to be close to agreement, as the Salmon letters could not be sent out until the "quotes and gists" have been finalised.

In a select committee hearing last week, Sir Jeremy said that he wanted the inquiry to publish "the maximum possible without destroying our relationship with the US [and] without revealing secrets that don't need to be revealed".

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in