When will it come out?
The report will be published on July 6th, a letter from John Chilcot to the Prime Minister has announced. The report is 2.6 million words long, and no redactions will appear in the text.
Just how long has it taken?
Longer than the Iraq War. The inquiry was announced in June 2009, and began hearing evidence in November of that year. The report aims to examine the UK’s involvement in Iraq and “identify lessons that can be learned”.
Why has it taken so long?
Aside from the fact the terms of the report, and the amount of evidence, was vast, Chilcot has also blamed delays on “Maxwellisation” – a legal procedure where individuals are permitted to respond to criticisms in an official report before its publication. According to The Times, accusations that the first draft was “riddled with errors” also caused delays.
The inquiry was originally expected to last around a year.
What will we expect to find out?
The Iraq inquiry website makes it clear that the inquiry “is not a court of law”, and so cannot discuss criminal culpability. “But,” it adds, “if the Committee finds that mistakes were made, that there were issues which could have been dealt with better, it will say so.”
No, seriously though…
All we really know is that the inquiry is going to focus on the run up to the Iraq War. According to the Daily Mail, “Downing Street insiders said . . . that they expect to the report to be a ‘devastating’ indictment of the Blair Government and large sections of the Whitehall establishment”.
You can look at some of the evidence the inquiry has considered here.
Chilcot in their own words
“We are talking about the biggest foreign policy mistake since Suez.”
Nick Clegg, 2009
“The inquiry needs to be, and needs to be seen to be, truly independent and not an Establishment stitch-up.”
David Cameron, 2009
“The primary objective of the committee will be to identify lessons learned. The committee will not set out to apportion blame or consider issues of civil or criminal liability.”
Gordon Brown, 2009
“I can say that I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.”
Tony Blair, 2015
“My colleagues and I remain committed to producing a report that will meet the very wide ranging terms of reference we were given.”
John Chilcot, 2015