Families to boycott Chilcot inquiry report amid 'whitewash' fears


The long-awaited Chilcot inquiry report into the Iraq war will be boycotted by relatives of some of the 179 Britons killed in the conflict, who fear it will be a "whitewash".

The two-million-word report, six years in the making, will be unveiled by Sir John Chilcot on Wednesday.

But some of those who lost loved ones in the war between 2003 and 2009 fear that it will not give them the answers they desperately want.

Gary Nicholson, 42, was one of 10 servicemen who died when their Hercules C-130 aircraft was shot down in 2005.

His mother Julia said: "It will be a whitewash. I'm absolutely disgusted. I'm not going because it will be a whitewash.

"Tony Blair has got blood on his hands. He will have covered his back and (George) Bush's back."

Janice Procter, whose son Michael Trench, 18, was one of the youngest British soldiers to die in Iraq when he was killed in 2007, said: "It's been horrendous, I'm very apprehensive about this.

"This man (Blair) has put 179 kids to the slaughter - there's no justice.

"It (the report) is not going to give me any closure or comfort."

She added: "I'm not going down on the day, I'm not going to waste two hours of my life reading it."

The Chilcot inquiry was set up in 2009 by then prime minister Gordon Brown after the withdrawal of the main body of British troops earlier that year.

The inquiry examined the lead up to the 2003 invasion, and the years up to the 2009 withdrawal.

The report's long-awaited publication follows 130 sessions of oral evidence and the testimony of more than 150 witnesses.

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

Relatives of the service personnel killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 will get an early sight of a 150-page summary.

David Godfrey, whose grandson Daniel Coffey, 21, was killed in 2007, said: "I'm quite apprehensive at the moment.

"People say this should bring closure but it won't. It might give us information but what we need is closure.

"It can't bring anybody back and won't stop us feeling what we feel. It's just another step forward on another long journey."

He branded former prime minister Tony Blair a "war criminal" and said "he has to be held responsible".

Roger Bacon, whose son Matthew, 34, was killed in 2005, said: "It's been hanging over our heads - a great rock sitting over our heads and it wears you down, no doubt about it, and has worn us down for a long time."

He added: "What I'm expecting is that the report will bring out what I've always believed, which is that he (Blair) took us to war illegally.

"I have concerns about the way the troops were looked after when they were out there and the equipment supplied.

"The major thing is, how did we get into this mess in the first place?

"If it's a whitewash I will be hugely disappointed - no question of that."