Letter from London: The Chilcot Inquiry Update

Readers of these pages are no strangers to the idea that world political leaders across the spectrum are quite adept at stretching the meaning of The Consent of the Governed.

We now learn that nearly five years after former UK Prime minister Gordon Brownannounced a full public inquiry it seems that the public will never get to hear what George Bush said to Tony Blair in the run up to the War against Iraq. This despite a request by the official public inquiry into the conflict for the documents detailing their exchanges to be made available to the public. 

Sir John Chilcot, head of the Iraq War inquiry has made a special deal with the UK government and accepted that the inquiry could look into talks between Mr Blair and Mr Bush before the start of war but the information would only be limited to 'quotes or gists'. It was also agreed that the inquiry could hear what Blair said to Bush but they could not report President Bush's comments.

Earlier this week, Mr Blair was quoted as saying that he was not the reason for the delay in publication of the report.  “It certainly isn't me who is holding it up,” he told the BBC. “The sooner it is published the better from my perspective as it allows me to go and make the arguments.”

The inquiry also investigates, without apportioning blame, how the leaders presented the Case for war including the extent to which they both relied on a dossier that Secretary of State Colin Powell described as a fine paper, which amongst other things cited Saddam Hussein's possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) that could be launched against western capitals within 45 minutes.

Expect little new material from this inquiry.