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Chilcot to name Iraq War report publication date 'as soon as I am able'

Published 09/09/2015

Sir John Chilcot's report into the 2003 conflict has been delayed by a process known as
Sir John Chilcot's report into the 2003 conflict has been delayed by a process known as "Maxwellisation"

The chairman of the long-awaited official inquiry in to the Iraq War has announced he will name a date for the publication of his report "as soon as I am able", after receiving the final responses from those criticised in the document.

Sir John Chilcot's report into the 2003 conflict has been delayed by a process known as "Maxwellisation", under which those who may face criticism - believed to include former prime minister Tony Blair - are given the opportunity to respond before publication.

Chilcot has come under fire for the long-drawn out process of producing his report, which the then prime minister Gordon Brown said he expected to take "at least a year" when he commissioned it in 2009.

In a letter to the chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Sir John said that he had now received the last Maxwellisation response.

Further work will be required to evaluate the "detailed and substantial" submissions and determine how much more time would be needed to finalise the report, he said.

"As soon as I am able to, I will write to the Prime Minister with a timetable for the publication of the Inquiry's report," wrote Sir John.

Sir John has been threatened with legal action from families of Iraq War casualties over his failure to set a timetable for publication.

David Cameron last month said he shared the families' "immense frustration" and urged the inquiry chairman to "get on with it". Downing Street has always stressed that the timing of the report's publication is a matter for the independent inquiry.

Families' lawyer Matthew Jury, of McCue & Partners, said: "It's a striking coincidence that four years after the Maxwellisation process was announced, only weeks after the families threatened legal proceedings and only days before the families' deadline to meet their requests or face judicial review, Sir John announces that Maxwellisation is now complete.

"Finally, due to the families' stand, we're now moving in the right direction but Sir John must still set a publication date. Indeed, with the completion of Maxwellisation there is now no reason why he can't. If there is, he should say so."

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