UK & World News
Blair Blames Inquiry For Iraq Report Delay
Tony Blair has told Sky News that "the people who run the inquiry" are to blame for a delay in the publication of the Chilcot report.
The Iraq Inquiry, to give it its official name, was launched almost four-and-a-half years ago.
The inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcot, was originally supposed to report its findings two years ago, but it has been repeatedly delayed and there is still no set publication date.
The inquiry's remit, as defined on its website, is to examine "the UK's involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned".
It has been delayed because of disagreements over what can and can't be published.
The committee wants the option to include transcripts of conversations between Mr Blair and then US president George W Bush, and also minutes from Cabinet meetings at the time.
This is being resisted by the Cabinet Office and some believe that is partly on the instruction of Mr Blair.
Writing in the Daily Mirror, former Labour MP and attorney general in Blair's government, Lord Morris, describes the delay in publication as a "national scandal", and called for it to be published "immediately".
But Mr Blair has repeatedly defended his involvement, and played down his influence.
He said: "I've made it absolutely clear, when the report is published is entirely up to them, it's not my decision at all."
When pressed by Sky News Presenter Sarah Hewson over who was responsible for the hold-up, he replied: "It is the responsibility of the people who run the inquiry."
It will take many months at best before the report can be published.
First, a deal has to be reached between the Cabinet Office and inquiry committee.
Once that happens, the Maxwellisation process will begin.
This is the confidential exercice of allowing anyone facing criticism in the report to make representations to the inquiry, if they disagree with parts of the document.
That is expected to take some time.
It will then be presented to the Prime Minister before final publication.