New era of openness: Iraq enquiry to be held in private

Times have changed, and the government is no longer trusted to hold a closed inquiry. Gordon Brown should think again, writes David Hencke in the Guardian.

Gordon Brown does not get it. One minute he is committing himself to open government, the next moment he is announcing a closed inquiry into the Iraq war. But his announcement yesterday is not only scandalous, as my colleague Jonathan Steele points out, it is also very stupid.

By using his reference point as the Franks inquiry into the Falklands war, he is trying to turn the clock back to an age that has long past. In Thatcher's time the British people still had some deference for politicians to get things right, today that trust has gone. As Richard Norton Taylor says, it is another Whitehall whitewash to hold a private inquiry on information, some of which is already in the public domain in the US and here.

The Franks inquiry predates the internet and the Freedom of Information Act, which both have had enormous impact on people's ability to access information.

A secret Iraq inquiry is daft (The Guardian, 16 June 2009)