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30-07-2009

Iraq Inquiry launched

Sir John Chilcot today launched the Iraq Inquiry at a news conference in central London with a promise to be "thorough, rigorous, fair and frank". Sir John, who is the chairman of the Inquiry, also stressed that he and his team were committed to openness. It's the committee's intention that public evidence sessions are televised.

"We come to this task with open minds and a commitment to review the evidence objectively," said Sir John. "Each member of the committee is independent and non-partisan. We are determined to be thorough, rigorous, fair and frank to enable us to form impartial and evidence-based judgements on all aspects of the issues, including the arguments about the legality of the conflict."

Sir John also made clear that the Inquiry team would be critical if they felt it necessary.

"The Inquiry is not a court of law and nobody is on trial," he said. "But I want to make something absolutely clear. This Committee will not shy away from making criticism. If we find that mistakes were made, that there were issues which could have been dealt with better, we will say so frankly."

Sir John continued;

"We are all committed to ensuring that our proceedings are as open as possible because we recognise that is one of the ways in which the public can have confidence in the integrity and independence of the inquiry process.

"In that spirit, we want to ensure that as many people as possible have access to what is happening in the public hearings, either direct or through the media. That includes the possibility of public hearings being televised and live streaming on the internet.  We will need to decide on the detailed arrangements nearer the time but we are committed to openness."

Read all of Sir John's statement