Government secrecy poisoning Iraq Inquiry - Willott

March 6, 2010 8:44 AM

Following Sir John Chilcot's admission today of 'frustration' over the Government's unwillingness to declassify certain information, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has called for key documents to be published before Tony Blair's hearing on Friday.

The documents, which must be made public if the Blair hearing is to be effective, include correspondence between the then-Prime Minister and George W Bush which has already been discussed, but so far remains unseen.

Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, added her voice to Mr Clegg's calls whilst releasing answers to a series of answer to her Parliamentary Questions, in which seven Government departments refused to reveal the number and security classifications of documents that have been submitted to or requested by the Inquiry Team.

Commenting, Jenny said:

"The Government is being absurdly secretive over the nature and number of documents given to the Iraq War Inquiry.

"Gordon Brown promised to be open and transparent in the government's co-operation with the Iraq War Inquiry. But scratch the surface and we find nothing but smoke and mirrors.

"Why won't the government let anyone know the number of documents handed over to the Inquiry team, or their security classifications?"The public have a democratic right to hold this government to account for one of the most controversial foreign policy decisions this country has ever made.

"Even when the time comes to publish we won't know if the inquiry has received everything they wanted, and there's no guarantee they'll be allowed to publish everything.

"The Inquiry Team will have to jump through at least nine different bureaucratic hoops before any documents can be released.

"This is far from the open and transparent inquiry we were promised."

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