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The Hutton Inquiry
2 December 2003
FAIRNESS TO ALL PARTIES
The Secretary to the Hutton Inquiry, Lee Hughes, said today that contents of Lord Hutton's report will be disclosed to the Government at the same time as they are disclosed to the other Parties. "The Government will have no prior knowledge of the contents before the other Parties."
He was responding to media reports that the Government would be given an advance copy of the report ahead of other Parties to the Inquiry.
"Lord Hutton intends that every person and organisation represented at the Inquiry will have prior notice, perhaps about 24 hours, of the contents of his report before it is published. This will be subject to undertakings to ensure that there is no leaking of parts of the report before it is published."
Mr Hughes also refuted allegations that Parties would not have an opportunity to challenge findings before the report was published.
"There is no risk that persons will not have adequate advance warning of criticisms which may be made of them.
"Between the first and second stages of the sittings of the Inquiry Lord Hutton caused confidential letters to be sent to those who might be the subject of criticism in his report. The letters specified the nature of the possible criticism so that they could seek to answer the criticism in the second stage of the Inquiry.
"If there is to be any additional criticism of a person in the report which was not set out in such a letter, that person will be given notice of it and will have an opportunity to respond well in advance of the publication of the report."
Mr Hughes said: "Lord Hutton is well advanced with the writing of his report but it now looks likely, as he indicated might happen when he last sat on 13 October, that it will not be published until the New Year. We are unable to state the precise date when the Report will be published."
Note for Editors
Media queries relating to Lord Hutton's investigation should be directed to the DCA Press Office, Tel: 020-7210 8512/13.