£767 bill for Chilcot report copies waived for families of Iraq war dead

Published: Friday 3rd June 2016 by The News Editor

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The families of service personnel killed in the Iraq War will not have to pay for copies of the long-awaited report into the conflict, Downing Street has said.

A Number 10 spokesman said there was “no question” of families having to pay for copies of the Chilcot report, which will be published on July 6.

Families had been told they faced being charged £767 for full hard copies of the 2.6 million word, 12-volume report.

But a Number 10 spokesman said: “There is no question of families of service personnel who died in Iraq having to pay for copies of the Chilcot report.”

Relatives of the Iraq War dead have been invited to attend inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot’s public statement when the report is published on July 6, before which they will be able to read an embargoed copy and will be given an executive summary for free.

They can also read a searchable version of the full report online for free, but had faced being charged for hard copies of the document.

The possibility of being forced to pay led to some parents of soldiers killed in the conflict to call for former prime minister Tony Blair, who led the country to war, to foot the bill.

Rose Gentle, who was visiting the grave of her son, Fusilier Gordon Gentle, when she spoke to the Press Association, said the former prime minister has enough money to shoulder the cost.

And Roger Bacon, whose son Major Matthew Bacon was killed in Iraq in 2005, said Mr Blair “with all his millions” should make a gesture given that families have “paid with our children’s lives”.

But Mrs Gentle, from Glasgow, whose son was killed in a bomb attack in Basra in 2004 aged 19, said the prospect of families being forced to buy a copy of the report was “disgusting” and asked: “Why should we have to pay – have we not paid enough times with the lives of our sons?

Mr Bacon said: “It does beggar belief that it is going to cost that amount of money in the first place.

“Who has the money to pay for something like this?

“We as families, not just those in the military, are in the same boat and to expect us to have to cough up that amount of money to read the report…”

The 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.

It has examined the lead up to the 2003 invasion, and the years up to that 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.

Published: Friday 3rd June 2016 by The News Editor

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