Clegg on suppressed Iraq documents: “this has all the hallmarks of a cover up”

Sir John Chilcot, who is chairing the inquiry into the Iraq war, today expressed publicly his “frustration” that the Government has refused to declassify certain information. The BBC reports:

The Lib Dems have accused the government of trying to “gag” the inquiry by refusing to publish them.

The documents include letters between Mr Blair and President Bush. The Cabinet Office said no documents had been withheld from the inquiry but some needed legal clearance before they could be released to the public.

Nick Clegg has called – once again – for those documents requested by the Chilcot inquiry to be published, and that it be done before Tony Blair is questioned. Nick first asked Gordon Brown to release these documents into the public arena at Prime Minister’s Questions on 25 November:

How on earth will we, and the whole country, hear the full truth of the decisions leading up to the invasion of Iraq if the inquiry is suffocated on day one by his Government’s shameful culture of secrecy?

Today, Nick returned to the theme of Labour’s culture of secrecy:
 

Despite Gordon Brown’s claim that he has ‘nothing to hide’ this has all the hallmarks of a cover up. Just as Liberal Democrats warned, the protocol on the release of documents is being used to gag the inquiry.
 
“To restore trust in the inquiry the Government must immediately declassify certain key documents ahead of Tony Blair’s hearing – the memo from Sir David Manning to Tony Blair dated January 31, 2003 and the letter from Tony Blair to George W Bush sent July 2002.
 
“Labour are leaving themselves open to charges of outright sabotage of Chilcot’s work to save their own political skins. If Tony Blair gets through on the nod due to the withholding of key documents, the public will rightly dismiss this inquiry as a whitewash.
 
“This will not go away. The Government must understand that the truth about this illegal war must and will emerge eventually, and that the time to come clean is now.”

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