Iraq Committee of Inquiry

Prime Minister written question – answered on 11th June 2014.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Prime Minister

(1) on what date and which Minister signed off the decision to give permission to the Chilcot inquiry to disclose quotations or gists of the content of notes from Tony Blair or records of discussions between the UK Prime Minister and the President of the United States; when detailed consideration of the gists and quotations requested by the Inquiry began; how many (a) gists and (b) quotations of Tony Blair are under consideration; whether the publication of any gists or quotations has yet been agreed; and which Minister will approve the decisions on which gists or quotations can be published;

(2) with reference to the letter of 28 May 2014 from Sir John Chilcot to the Cabinet Secretary, which Government Minister agreed, and on what date, that there was no prospect of reaching agreement that Notes or records of discussions between the UK Prime Minister and the President of the United States should be disclosed in their entirety or with redactions.

Photo of David Cameron David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The inquiry is completely independent of Government and should be allowed to complete its work without interference.

At the outset of the inquiry, Government and the inquiry agreed a documents protocol on the handling of information provided to the inquiry. The protocol names the Cabinet Secretary as final arbiter in discussions about disclosure. He is the right person to perform this role. He is the most senior civil servant and can see papers of a previous Government. Sir John Chilcot’s letter of 28 May describes the background against which the inquiry made its requests for gists and quotes. Sir John also makes clear that the gists and quotes are sufficient for the inquiry’s purposes.

Sir John Chilcot’s letter of 28 May is available on the Iraq inquiry website and I am placing a copy in the Library of the House.

The Government will not comment further on the extent or detail of the inquiry’s declassification requests. I have made clear my hope that the inquiry will be able to complete its work by the end of the year.

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