Chilcot report into Iraq war to be published on July 6


Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the Iraq inquiry

The long-awaited report into the Iraq war will be published on Wednesday July 6, an inquiry spokesman has said.

Security checks on the 2.6 million-word report have been completed without the need for any redactions.

The date of publication was agreed by the inquiry's head, Sir John Chilcot and David Cameron, and falls two weeks after the EU referendum.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir John said: "National security checking of the inquiry's report has now been completed, without the need for any redactions to appear in the text. I am grateful for the speed with which it was accomplished."

He added: "This will allow suitable time for the inquiry to prepare the 2.6 million-word report for publication, including final proof reading, formatting, printing and the steps required for electronic publication."

Cameron told the inquiry head last November that he was "disappointed" about the length of time it was taking to release the findings and urged him to "expedite" the final stages. Its publication will come 1,981 days after the inquiry started - back on November 24 2009.

A soldier makes the peace sign to local children in Basra from aboard a Warrior troop carrier as British forces patrolled through the city's streets.

Conservative former frontbencher David Davis last month claimed that lives had "probably" been lost as a result of the delays because Britain had made recent interventions in Libya, Syria and Iraq without proper knowledge of the controversial 2003 choice to go to war.

Publication was delayed by a process known as Maxwellisation, under which those who may face criticism are given the opportunity to respond before publication.

Tony Blair denied last year that he was responsible for the hold-ups.

Critics have long suspected the former prime minister of wanting to spin out the investigation in which he is expected to be criticised and he has faced accusations that he sought to block publication of his communications with the then US president George Bush.

A protester dressed as former prime minister Tony Blair with fake blood on their hands
(Lewis Whyld/PA)

In May 2014, Sir John disclosed that he had finally reached agreement with the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood on the disclosure of Blair's discussions with Bush, three years after Sir Jeremy's predecessor, Sir Gus (now Lord) O'Donnell, ruled that they could not be released in their entirety.

The lengthy dispute - which Sir John acknowledged had raised "difficult issues of long-standing principle" - meant the inquiry was unable to begin the Maxwellisation process.

More than 150 witnesses gave evidence to the inquiry and more than 130 sessions of oral evidence were held.

It has analysed more than 150,000 government documents as well as other material related to the invasion.