In an apparent breach of the Inquiry terms, Sir John Chilcot, head of the probe, expressed his “frustration” that he was unable to refer to key documents while questioning Lord Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, about why he gave the “green light” for war.
Lord Goldsmith also said that he was unhappy at being denied the opportunity to discuss documents including a letter from Jack Straw, then-former foreign secretary, about United Nations negotiations.
Gordon Brown has pledged that the inquiry team will have access to “all Government papers,” but the exchanges over Lord Goldsmith’s testimony make clear that they will be barred from discussing classified documents during evidence sessions.
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, claimed that the inability of the Chilcot team to properly question witnesses meant that it was being “gagged,” adding that if secret documents relating to Tony Blair, who gives evidence tomorrow, could not be discussed, the result would be a “cover-up”.
The lack of transparency over crucial documents emerged as Lord Goldsmith was explaining how he had changed his mind about the legality of the war in the months leading up to the invasion.
He said: "I want to make it clear that I didn't agree with the decision that has apparently been made that certain documents are not to be declassified but I will give the evidence that the inquiry seeks."
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