Sir John Chilcot will today make public the long-awaited inquiry into the UK’s role in the Iraq War.
Having been worked on for seven years, the report is widely expected to be one of the biggest political events of 2016.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of the publication...
What is the Chilcot report?
The report is the culmination of the Chilcot inquiry into the decisions that brought Britain into the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Britain’s subsequent role in occupied Iraq. The inquiry was announced in 2009 by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Who is Chilcot?
Sir John Chilcot, who chaired the inquiry, is a British Privy Counsellor and ex-civil servant. He served as Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, and held numerous posts in the Home Office, Civil Service department and Cabinet Office. He currently serves as president of the independent policing think tank Police Foundation, having previously been chair of the organisation.
He worked on the controversial Butler Review, published in July 2004, which examined intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
Why has it taken so long to publish?
The report was initially slated for publication in 2014, but lengthy negotiations with the Americans and the ‘Maxwellisation’ process - that is, allowing those criticised in the report a right of response - held things up.
Concerns about releasing the report in the run-up to the 2015 general election were also raised, and so the report was pushed back until July 2016.
Who conducted the inquiry?
The inquiry was led by Sir John Chilcot, who was assisted by military historian and academic Sir Lawrence Freedman - who contributed to Tony Blair’s 1999 speech on the ‘Blair doctrine’; historian Sir Martin Gilbert (d. 2015); Sir Roderic Lyne, Britain’s former ambassador to Russia and the UN, and John Major’s former private secretary and Baroness Prashar, member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and chairwoman of the Judicial Appointments Commission. The inquiry was advised by General Sir Roger Wheeler, ex-chief of the British Army’s General Staff and former Preisdent of the International Court of Justice Dame Rosalyn Higgins.
What restrictions has the committee faced?
Evidence would not be made public if it would endanger the national or economic interests of the UK; endanger the lives of anyone mentioned or was judged not to be in the public interest.
What are the expected outcomes?
More than 1500 documents are due to be published, including communcations from Tony Blair to George W Bush. Blame will likely be apportioned to Tony Blair and his foreign policy team, along with the civil service, military and intelligence services.