MP David Davis wants legal support curb in Iraq war inquiry


A limit should be placed on the taxpayer-funded legal support available to individuals criticised by the Iraq war inquiry to speed up the publication of the final report, a Conservative MP said.

David Davis, a leading critic of the failure to publish the conclusions of Sir John Chilcot's probe six years after it was commissioned, said the cost to the public was ridiculous.

Families of those who died in the controversial 2003 military action are preparing legal action over the failure to set any timetable for the release of the conclusions.

Sir John said this week that the last responses to the "Maxwellisation" process - a consultation of all those facing criticism - were due "shortly" but defied pressure to set a date.

The chairman said he understood the "anguish" of those who lost loved ones in the conflict but argued that the probe was "unprecedented" in its scope.

Crispin Blunt, who chairs the Commons foreign affairs select committee, has warned that setting a deadline could "wreck" the inquiry.

But fellow Conservative Mr Davis said curbing legal support could speed it up.

"There are two groups of people who are suffering most from these inordinate delays of Chilcot: one group are the families of the dead who are being denied closure and the other group are the ordinary taxpayers who are being denied an answer as to the causes of the war," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"It seems ridiculous that the second group - the taxpayers - are also having to pay the cost of this answer being delayed ad infinitum.

"Surely the reasonable action for the Government to take now is to say 'there should be a limit in time and money on what can be spent on government lawyers to allow this inordinate delay to continue'."

Downing Street said: "This is an independent inquiry and as such Maxwellisation, publication and timing are a matter for Sir John."