Chilcot voices frustration over classified documents

Gordon Brown has promised the Iraq Inquiry will have access to "all Government papers" – but it may not be allowed to release them to the public.

The protocol became a bone of contention yesterday when inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot voiced his "frustration" at the committee's inability to publish certain key documents.

These were thought to cover former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith's advice on the legality of war in the months leading up to invasion.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lord Goldsmith said: "I want to make it clear that I didn't agree with the decision that has apparently been made that certain documents are not to be declassified."

The inquiry chairman, Sir John Chilcot, told him: "We share your frustration."

Protocol dictates there should be no hindrance to the committee's access to Government documents. But the inquiry must obtain permission before releasing that information into the public domain.

Many documents have been released by the inquiry so far, some featuring censorship of sensitive information. But any decisions to refuse publication can be appealed to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said some appeals remained unresolved.