UK & World News

  • 30 May 2014, 19:34

Chilcot Iraq Inquiry Talks Deal 'A Whitewash'

Campaigners have condemned as a "whitewash" a deal to keep secret sensitive extracts of exchanges between Tony Blair and George Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Gordon was killed in Iraq in 2004, said she felt "sickened" by the decision to limit disclosure, and felt the families had been "shoved aside".

She believed the decision to only release "quotes or gists" of discussions between the two men ahead of the 2003 invasion, meant the former UK prime minister will "walk away from it with a smile on his face".

Reaching an agreement on the disclosure of the documents - which includes 25 notes from Mr Blair to Mr Bush and more than 130 records of conversations between the former prime minister and then-US president - has been blamed for the four-year delay in the publication of the inquiry report, which was commissioned by Gordon Brown when he was prime minister in 2009.

There had been mounting frustration over the delay in publishing the findings of the inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcot, although Mr Blair has denied he was responsible for the hold-up.

Mrs Gentle said: "I feel sickened. How will the families get to know the truth? We are just shoved aside. We just feel, what's the point?

"I think Tony Blair has got a lot to do with the decision. He is kind of behind it."

Mrs Gentle said the curb on disclosure would mean the families were "still going to be wondering" about what had actually gone on between Mr Blair and Mr Bush before the invasion.

She added:  "I think it is definitely (a whitewash).

"I feel Tony Blair is going to walk away from it with a smile on his face. I feel he is laughing at us."

Former Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay, who sat on the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said: "I am not surprised that Chilcot has surrendered.

"It is a bad, bad day for democracy and justice. The establishment of this country, and the security and intelligence services, have won again. Truth has lost out."

He added: "We were lied to as a country time and time again on Iraq. The lies endure."

Sir John Major, former Conservative prime minister, has also warned publishing only partial extracts would allow suspicions about what took place to "fester and maybe worsen".

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