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Monday 23rd November 2009 | 17:30
Amongst senior political journalists and commentators, MPs and peers, think tank heads and strategists, most are confident that Sir John Chilcot's inquiry into the Iraq War will be sufficiently independent.
There have been suggestions that the report will be a ‘whitewash’ – the chairman of the report, Sir John Chilcot, has been described as having a ‘background at the heart of the establishment’.
Sir Lawrence Freedman, also on the inquiry's committee, was quoted in Tony Blair's famous Chicago foreign policy speech, whilst historian Sir Martin Gilbert openly backed the invasion of Iraq. Chilcot denies the report will be a whitewash, and has stressed that all committe members are now completely independent.
53% of the PoliticsHome Phi100 panel back his claims, and believe the inquiry will be ‘sufficiently independent’. 38% disagree.
Majorities of left-aligned and Liberal Democrat-aligned insiders are confident the inquiry will be independent, but right-aligned and non-aligned panellists are more divided.
The Phi100 panel is comprised of MPs, peers, journalists, think tank leaders, academics and strategists from across all political leanings, giving a daily insight into sentiment at the highest level of British politics.
A Liberal Democrat MP said, “It could turn out to be more independent than people expect - and quite hard hitting!”
A non-aligned journalist said, “It will be sufficiently independent – Christ himself on the panel would not satisfy some.”
A Conservative MP said, “No, it won’t be – the establishment is in charge.”
A right-aligned strategist agreed, saying, “Recent inquiries into the war, such as Butler and Hutton, were chaired by establishment figures – and we know what happened.”
A non-aligned think tank leader said, “It may be independent, but it is also largely irrelevant.”
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