Peers query Chilcot Inquiry timetable

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Labour and former attorney general Lord Morris of Aberavon led a debate on 11 February 2014 in which he asked why the Chilcot Inquiry has not yet reported.

In 2009, Sir John Chilcot was commissioned by then prime minister Gordon Brown to chair an inquiry into Britain's involvement in the Iraq war.

Lord Morris acknowledged that documents still need to be proposed for declassification and that the "Maxwellisation" process must be carried out before the inquiry's report could be published.

But, he added: "Not to publish is to undermine the whole object. Delay is unjust and justice to the public is denied."

Lib Dem Lord Alderdice reasoned that "we need this report and we need it with some urgency" in order to learn lessons from Iraq that could be applied to current conflicts in the Middle East.

Speaking from the front bench for Labour, Lord Liddle said it was clear the inquiry had been "extremely thorough" and said that where the inquiry concerned correspondence between Tony Blair and President George W. Bush, "we do have obligations to our allies and partners".

Responding for the government, Cabinet Office spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire drew peers' attention to his presence in Washington DC in the early 2000s, which he said had persuaded him that "the Bush administration was determined to go to war with Iraq against the advice of some their own intelligence analysts".

On the progress of the inquiry, he told peers: "The question of how much is wise to publish is one that remains that is what has caused the delay and that is what we are currently working through."

He assured them he would push for publication of the report in the "foreseeable future".

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