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William Hague demands that the Chilcot Inquiry be given "unfettered access" to all Iraq documents

William Hague serious square The Conservatives have been somewhat in the shadows this week, which is no surprise given the news agenda. Much of the first half of the week was dominated by the crisis talks in Northern Ireland, and this is also the most significant week so far for the Chilcot Inquiry, with all eyes due to be on Tony Blair when he gives evidence tomorrow.

Yesterday too, the rolling news channels gave huge amounts of live coverage to the evidence given to Chilcot by the former attorney general, Lord Goldsmith.

And it was after that appearance that the shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, has spoken out about the Inquiry, since accusations are being made that Sir John Chilcot is effectively being gagged.

As today's Telegraph reports:

"In an apparent breach of the Inquiry terms, Sir John Chilcot, head of the probe, expressed his “frustration” that he was unable to refer to key documents while questioning Lord Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, about why he gave the “green light” for war.

"Lord Goldsmith also said that he was unhappy at being denied the opportunity to discuss documents including a letter from Jack Straw, then-former foreign secretary, about United Nations negotiations."

William Hague has responded as follows:    

"When he announced the Inquiry Gordon Brown said unequivocally that 'no British document and no British witness will be beyond the scope of the inquiry'. It would be unacceptable for the Government to backtrack on that clear commitment.

"It is crucial that the Inquiry has unfettered access to all the Government documents that relate to the decision to invade Iraq.  The Government’s reported unwillingness to cooperate fully will do little to dispel the suspicion that Brown’s Downing Street would have preferred a more restricted inquiry."

Jonathan Isaby


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