Asked repeatedly if the Prime Minister had considered declassifying certain documents for the inquiry ahead of former Prime Minister Blair’s appearance, the PMS explained the process involved in handing over documents to the inquiry and explained that all papers the inquiry had asked for had been handed over and that it was a matter for the Government to consider declassification against a set of protocols agreed between the Government and the Chilcot inquiry. The PMS added that the Prime Minister is not involved in this process and has no role in the declassification of the documents.
Asked if the Prime Minister would step in and change the protocol to end the Chilcot Inquiries frustration over classified documents, the PMS said this process does not and indeed cannot involve the Prime Minister and repeated there was an agreed protocol in place as part of this important independent inquiry.
Asked if the Prime Minister could or would change the protocol, the PMS said the protocol had been agreed between the Government and the Inquiry and not by the Prime Minister. The PMS added that this was an independent inquiry.
Asked if the Prime Minister was doing all he could to help the inquiry in light of frustrations voiced by St John Chilcot on classified documents, the PMS said every document that had been requested had been supplied and that the frustrations could not have been at the Prime Minister because the declassification process was not a role for him.
Asked what the protocols were for foreign relations and would former President Bush have a view on letters between himself and Tony Blair being declassified and if the Government and President Bush’s office had discussed the issue, the PMS said he did not know the answer with regard to the protocol and that it was a matter for the Cabinet office if discussions had taken place and that the Prime Minister would not have a role in declassification.
Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news
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