Families deserve truth over Iraq - Newport MP
2:51pm Thursday 5th June 2014 in News
The grieving families of the 179 British soldiers killed in the Iraq War deserve "every syllable of the truth" as they try to find closure, a veteran backbencher has said.
Labour MP for Newport West Paul Flynn told the Commons that relatives needed the full facts rather than a censored report containing "suspicions of an establishment cover-up".
His comment came after it emerged only "gists" of conversations between Tony Blair and President Bush - rather than complete transcripts - would be published by the Chilcot Inquiry, which is at least four years late.
He said: "When can we debate the need to find closure to the grieving families of the 179 brave British soldiers killed in the Iraq War?
"They demand the truth, the whole truth and every syllable of the truth and not a censored Chilcot report that will, in John Major's view, contain suspicions that will fester for years, suspicions of an establishment cover-up."
Last month, Sir John said Mr Blair could intervene to allow full disclosure of the exchanges and suggested it would be in his interests to do so.
He said there were "strict rules" that prevented the current Government from getting involved and insisted it was down to Labour or Mr Blair to approach the Cabinet Office, which handled the negotiations, to give the go-ahead for the papers to be released.
The former Conservative Prime Minister warned that publishing partial extracts would allow suspicions to "fester and worsen".
He also said withholding the papers would be very embarrassing for Mr Blair given he brought the Freedom of Information Act into law while he was in government.
Leader of the Commons Andrew Lansley said the fact an agreement had been reached about what information would be available and could be published was "welcome".
"It does enable us to look forward to the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry," he added.
Years of negotiations over publication of the "vital" material - which includes 25 notes from Mr Blair to Mr Bush and more than 130 records of conversations between them - is understood to have been behind the delay in the release of the long-awaited report into the invasion of Iraq.
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