Administration committee calls for Iraq War inquiry to be public

June 22, 2009 at 12:35 pm Leave a comment

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A committee of MPs has recommended the inquiry into the Iraq War be held “as openly and publicly as possible.”

The Public Administration Committee said there is a “strong risk that the inquiry as currently constituted will not be able to pursue what should be its fundamental purpose: to identify the truth and ensure that the executive can be held properly accountable for its decisions and conduct in relation to Iraq.

“We recommend that the Government reconsiders its decision to conduct the Iraq inquiry in private.

“There needs instead to be a presumption in favour of the inquiry proceeding in an open and public manner.

“There should be only very limited exceptions to this general rule, which would be best decided by the members of the inquiry itself, not by the Government.”

The committee said the Iraq inquiry “is a unique opportunity to explore issues about there has been significant public disquiet for some time.”

“Only if the inquiry is conducted in a manner which is legitimate and credible—and is seen to be so—will the public be assured that it is not a whitewash.

“We welcome the fact that there is to be an inquiry.

“But it is the wrong kind of inquiry, decided and announced in the wrong kind of way.

“We urge the Government to reconsider the way in which the Iraq inquiry will be conducted, so that this key opportunity to restore public confidence is not missed.”

Since the Prime Minister announced the inquiry last week there has been criticism of its secrecy.

Former Cabinet Secretary Lord Butler denounced the secret inquiry in the House of Lords and some Labour MPs and Cabinet ministers have called for public evidence sessions.

The committee of inquiry will be chaired by Sir John Chilcot and will include Baroness Usha Prashar, Sir Roderick Lyne, Sir Lawrence Freedman and Sir Martin Gilbert.

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