Friday, June 12, 2009

PASC - Chatham rules seminar

Public Administration Select Committee: Press Notices

11 June 2009


Committee brings together key figures to discuss how an inquiry into Iraq should proceed to ensure its effectiveness and legitimacy

The Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) today held a seminar to explore how the Government should conduct its promised inquiry into the Iraq war. PASC is also likely to publish a report very soon in the light of these discussions.

The seminar, which was held under the Chatham House rule, brought together a number of key figures including chairs of previous inquiries, former diplomats, and Members of both Houses of Parliament. PASC has previously published two reports that bear on the conduct of an Iraq inquiry: Government by Inquiry (First Report of Session 2004-05, HC 51-I), and Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry (Ninth Report of Session 2007-08, HC 473).

The discussions covered what the purpose of the inquiry should be, its terms of reference, membership and powers, and the question of what role Parliament might play in the inquiry process.

Tony Wright MP, Chairman of the Committee, said:

“I am delighted that the Prime Minister is shortly to announce the Government’s long-promised Iraq inquiry, and we understand that the terms of this inquiry are currently being established. We thought it would be helpful to convene a seminar to harness the views of key figures in the debate, including the views of those involved in previous inquiries into Iraq.

“The Iraq inquiry is a fundamental opportunity to explore issues about which there has been significant public disquiet for some time. The point that emerged most strongly from our seminar was the following: only if the inquiry is conducted in a manner which is legitimate and credible-and is seen to be so-will the public be assured that it is not a whitewash. In my own view, this will require a process of engagement on the inquiry’s purpose and conduct, and Parliament’s agreement to the form of inquiry that is proposed.”


Committee Membership: Tony Wright (Chairman) (Lab) (Cannock Chase), Mr David Burrowes (Con) (Enfield, Southgate), Paul Flynn (Lab) (Newport West), David Heyes (Lab) (Ashton under Lyne), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) (Luton North), Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (Con) (Bridgewater), Julie Morgan (Lab) (Cardiff North), Mr Gordon Prentice (Lab) (Pendle), Paul Rowen (Lib Dem) (Rochdale), Charles Walker (Con) (Broxbourne), Jenny Willott (Lib Dem) (Cardiff Central)

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Chatham House Rule

The Chatham House Rule reads as follows:

"When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed".

The world-famous Chatham House Rule may be invoked at meetings to encourage openness and the sharing of information.


The Chatham House Rule originated at Chatham House with the aim of providing anonymity to speakers...


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