MP calls for apology over Iraq inquiry delays

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.

A South Tyneside MP has called for an apology to families over delays in publishing a report into the Iraq war.

Jarrow and Hebburn MP Stephen Hepburn spoke out during a meeting in the House of Commons, today.

He asked if the minister would make an apology to his constituent Pat Long and other families as they continue to wait for the publication of the Chilcot report.

The report is a public inquiry into the role of the nation in the Iraq war and was launched in 2009. However, its findings have yet to be made public.

Mr Hepburn said: "British troops served fewer years in Iraq than during the first and second world wars, and the first and second world wars did not take as long as it has taken to publish the Chilcot report.

"Will the Minister make an apology to my constituent Pat Long, whose son was killed in the Iraq war, for these unforgivable delays, and also give a commitment to her and other families that they will see the embargoed report, rather than getting the news—inevitably there will be bad news—second hand?"

Pat's son, Corporal Paul Long, 24, and five Royal Military Police (RMP) colleagues died on June 24 2003 after the police station they were sent to, in Majar-al-Kabir in south east Iraq, to meet police they had been tasked to develop, was surrounded and attacked.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Matthew Hancock MP, said: "I understand the hon. gentleman’s concern and the concern of his constituents. He will know that the timing of the publication is a matter for the independent inquiry, which has set out a timetable. Checking for national security issues is very important, and will take place appropriately.

"Thankfully, we will get to the conclusion of this process soon."