Anger at the mounting sums of money paid to Sir John Chilcot and his committee have prompted calls for the government to stop any further payments amid demands by politicians for the publication of the Iraq inquiry report without further delay (1). Will we ever see it? Unlikely.
Analysis of the accounts released by the inquiry reveal that Sir John Chilcot, committee members and advisers have shared more than £1.5 million in fees since the inquiry began in 2009 (2). If it does finally get released, it will likely either be heavily redacted or those implicated in the Iraq war crime, would have died rendering the inquiry meaningless in terms of justice having been seen to have been done.
Last year, tax payers spent £892,000 on the wages of the eleven civil servants and three support staff (3). The inquiry has not sat for the last four years and the last eminent session was in February 2011. Yet it has cost the taxpayer £5.5 million in that time in wages (4). A massive £10 million has so far been spent in total on the inquiry and we haven’t seen a word of it (5). In the past year alone, £119,000 has been shared between the four committee members and its two advisers – Sir General Roger Wheeler and Dame Rosalind Higgins (6). Given the number of days they worked, it amounts to a combined day rate for six people of £3,615.
Liberal Democart peer Lord Dykes said, “I’m concerned about this report. Myself, like many others, are concerned that there might be a kind of cover up going on – not by Sir John Chilcot himself, but maybe by other people who are trying to delay it”, he said. Asked which individuals may be involved, Dykes replied, “people who might be connected at a senior level with the perpetration of an illegal war” (7). Can you think of anybody like that? A spokesperson for the Iraq inquiry refused to comment further.