Master of Pembroke College to give secret evidence to Chilcot Enquiry

Jen Mills - New Editor 5 February 2010

Sir Richard Dearlove, the Master of Pembroke College and head of MI6 at the time of the Iraq invasion, is likely to give evidence in secret to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war after the general election.

The fact that the evidence will probably be given in private has angered some MPs.

Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay, former member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, told The Guardian that he would be “appalled” if Dearlove did not appear in public. He added, “there is amazing deference in this country to the intelligence services, and as a result they call the shots.”

On September 12th 2003, Dearlove briefed Tony Blair in person, giving him intelligence that Saddam Hussein had access to mobile production facilities for biological weapons.

Blair spoke of this in evidence he gave last Friday, admitting that this information was later found to be wrong.

The exact arrangements for Dearlove’s testimony have not yet been decided.

Much of the information pertaining to the case remains classified, so that some, if not all of his evidence, will be concealed from the public.

The Chair of the Inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, has stated that it aims “to consider the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath.”

The enquiry officially began on 30thJuly 2009 and it is possible that its findings will not be published until 2011.

Dearlove has previously given evidence at the Hutton enquiry into the death of David Kelly and the inquest into the death of Princess Diana and Dodi al Fayed.

Jen Mills – New Editor