Wales politics

Iraq inquiry delays could make Westminster a 'laughing stock'

Elfyn Llwyd
Image caption Elfyn Llwyd told MPs the inquiry should have been led by a judge rather than a retired civil servant

Delays to the inquiry into the Iraq war could make Westminster "the laughing stock of the world", Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader has warned.

The Chilcot report will not now be published before the general election.

Elfyn Llwyd said the investigation, which began in 2009, had been "cowed by the establishment".

In a special debate on the delay, the Dwyfor Meirionydd MP said the inquiry was becoming an "expensive farce" and "an affront to democracy".

"It's an insult to Parliament but more important it's a gross offence to those people who've lost loved ones out in Iraq and to the people of Iraq itself," said Mr Llwyd.

"Democracy, I think, demands that something is done urgently otherwise this parliament will be the laughing stock of the world."

Mr Llwyd also criticised former civil servant Sir John Chilcot and his staff for the conduct of the inquiry.

'Crippled state'

The MP said he had given them two "top secret" transcripts from 2001 and 2002 which he claimed showed that former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George W Bush discussed removing Iraqi president Saddam Hussein by military force.

"Mr Blair had committed us to war even then, before seeing any proof of weapons of mass destruction," said the MP, who said had been sent the documents by an unknown source.

Mr Llwyd and former Plaid MP Adam Price had been visited by Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch and asked questions about the transcripts.

But Mr Llwyd said the only response he had had from the inquiry was that he would not be required to give evidence.

He described Iraq as "a troubled, crippled state", adding that the inquiry should have been led by a judge rather than a retired civil servant.

Appearing before a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, the UK's top civil servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood, said he understood public anxiety but it would be wrong to "rush" publication of the report.

Sir John Chilcot is to be questioned by MPs next week.

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