Monday 15 June 2009

Will Iraq inquiry win public trust?

An announcement about an Iraq inquiry is expected this week. {UPDATE: Gordon Brown will make a statement at 3.30pm today in the Commons].

Jon Snow suggests that a historian, Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, may chair the inquiry.

The LibDems are pressing for public hearings, , rather than following the format of the Franks inquiry into the Falklands War.

This could be done in a form short of a judicial inquiry, for example by open committee-style hearings with witnesses, as Nick Clegg suggests. Several Labour MPs - including Mike Gapes who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee - are similarly arguing that the inquiry "should be held in public as far as is possible".

The inquiry is an important and necessary move. The test of the process and form an inquiry takes is both that it learns all possible lessons for foreign policy, and is conducted in a way that wins public trust that it is an open and honest investigation.

I pushed both of those themes when I secured the Prime Minister's first public commitment to an inquiry over a year ago, in March 2008. Read the correspondence here.

1 comment:

Stuart White said...

Sunder: well, it looks like Brown has chosen to keep the Iraq inquiry private. I fear this means the inquiry will not win the public trust you rightly say the inquiry needs to have. As such, I doubt it will close the door on the demand for a proper review of what happened and why. Alas, it seems to fit into a clear emerging pattern of a government that has apparently learned very little about the need to take processes outside the scope of a small political elite.