The Chilcot Inquiry (Report, Review?)
This is the partial text of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's statement to Parliament announcing his plans for setting up the inquiry into the Iraq war:
"Mr Speaker, I am today announcing the establishment of an independent, privy-counsellor Committee of Inquiry. It will consider the period from summer 2001 before military operations began in March 2003, and our subsequent involvement in Iraq until the end of July this year. The inquiry is essential so that, by learning lessons, we will strengthen the health of our democracy, our diplomacy and our military.
The inquiry will, I stress, be fully independent of government.
The scope of the inquiry is unprecedented - covering an eight year period, including the run-up to the conflict and the full period of conflict and reconstruction.
The Committee of Inquiry will have access to the fullest range of information, including secret information. In other words their investigation can range across all papers all documents and all material. So the inquiry can ask for any British document to come before it and any British citizen to appear. No British document and no British witness will be beyond the scope of the inquiry.
And I have asked the members of the inquiry that the final report of the inquiry will be able to disclose all but the most sensitive information, that is, all information except that which is essential to our national security.
The inquiry will receive the full co-operation of the Government - with access to all Government papers and the ability to call any witnesses -with the objective to learn the lessons from the events surrounding the conflict. It is on this basis that I have accepted the Cabinet Secretary's advice that the Franks Inquiry is the best precedent.
Taking into account national security considerations as the Franks Inquiry did - for example, what might damage or reduce our military capability in the future - evidence will be heard in private. In this way also evidence given by serving and former ministers, military officers and officials will, I believe, be as full and candid as possible.
The Committee will publish its findings in as full a form as possible. These findings will then be debated in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It is in these debates as well as from the report itself that we can draw fully upon the lessons learnt in Iraq.
So while the format is the same as the Franks Inquiry we have gone much further in the scope of the inquiry.
No inquiry has looked at such a long period. No inquiry has the powers to look in so much breadth. For while Franks looked only at the run up to the Falklands conflict, the Iraq Inquiry will look at the run up to conflict, the conflict itself and the reconstruction so that we can learn lessons in each and every area.
The inquiry will take into account evidence submitted to previous inquiries.
And I am asking members of the committee to explain the scope, width and breadth of its work to opposition leaders and the chairs of the relevant parliamentary committees.
In order that the committee is as objective and non-partisan as possible, the membership of the committee will consist entirely of non-partisan public figures acknowledged to be expert and leaders in their fields. There will be no representatives of political parties from any side of this House.
Mr Speaker, I can announce today that the Committee of Inquiry will be chaired by Sir John Chilcot and include:
Baroness Usha Prashar
Sir Roderick Lyne
Sir Lawrence Freedman; and
Sir Martin Gilbert
All are - or will become - privy counsellors
Mr Speaker, the committee will start work as soon as possible after the end of July, and given the complexity of the issues it will address, I am advised it will take one year.
As I have made clear, 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."