Durkan has doubts over Chilcot’s free hand

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SDLP MP Mark Durkan questioned John Chilcot’s independence and rigour as MPs called for the national security checking of the Iraq Inquiry report to be completed as soon as possible,

The former Permanent Secretary at the Northern Ireland Office who met with Mr Durkan when he was conducting a review of intelligence in Northern Ireland following the Castlereagh PSNI break-in in 2002, oversaw the Iraq Inquiry half-a-decade ago but his report has yet to be published.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Durkan said: “Some of us know John Chilcot and have worked with him, because of our backgrounds and roles.

“When he was appointed to carry out this inquiry, I was accused of being uncharitable in saying that although he had many attributes, I did not think he would be found in the ‘Yellow Pages’ under I for independent or C for challenging.

“Perhaps he will prove otherwise. He conducted the review after the Castlereagh raid, and what he did then was what my party and I predicted he would do - come up with an outcome that would entirely suit the security services and be more about their interests.

“That shows that this man is well attuned and sensitive to the interests, demands and requirements of the security services. The idea that he has written a report that will need serious national security checking is somewhat preposterous.”