Public access to the Inquiry hearing room

19 November 2009

The Iraq Inquiry is pleased to announce arrangements for public access to the Inquiry’s hearing room.

Sir John Chilcot, the Inquiry chairman, said:

“I have consistently made clear the importance I attach to the Inquiry’s hearings being conducted in public to the greatest extent possible. The Committee has chosen to follow the model used by Parliamentary Select Committees, with space being made available for a limited number of members of the public to sit in the hearing room to listen to witnesses direct.”

There will be over 100 seats available, around 60 in the hearing room itself and the remainder in a separate room, which will show the hearings on large screens. For the first five weeks (as the Inquiry establishes a framework for the UK’s involvement in Iraq 2001-9) access to the Inquiry will be on a first come, first served basis. Hearings timetables will be published on the Inquiry’s website a week in advance. Those in the hearing room will be expected to observe similar standards of behaviour to those that apply in Parliament, to avoid disrupting proceedings. Members of the public wishing to attend are encouraged to look at the Hearings section of the Inquiry’s website for further details on how to attend.

For those who cannot attend in person, a contract with Bow Tie Television and the UK Broadcasters Pool is being finalised to ensure that the hearings will be streamed on the internet and can also be broadcast on television. Video records and written transcripts of all the public evidence sessions will also be stored on the website.