The timing of the publication of the one million word report into the Iraq War will be decided by the Prime Minister, Number 10 has said.
The report is expected to be critical of senior Labour figures before, during and after the 2003 invasion.
Any decision to publish it near the date of the May 7 election is likely to be highly controversial because it is expected to be critical of senior Labour figures before, during and after the 2003 invasion.
The comments clarify remarks from David Cameron, who told MPs on Wednesday that the report’s publication was a matter for the inquiry’s chairman Sir John Chilcot.
Mr Cameron said at Prime Minister’s Questions said: “I am not able to order the publication of the report: it is up to Sir John Chilcot when he publishes his report. He will make the decision, not me.”But on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s deputy official spokesman said that in fact Mr Cameron would have the final say on the timing the publication once has received the report.
She said: “The point the Prime Minister has made is the timing of the report and its completion is a matter for the inquiry.
“In terms of publication, the government would seek to publish it as swiftly as possible while ensuring parliament had the right time and opportunity to debate and look at it.”
“It is a government decision [when to publish] and the government has set out it will be published as quickly as possible.
“But the timing of when the report will be completed is independent of the government and that is a matter for Chilcot and his team.”
On Tuesday a Government minister said that if the report is not published by the end of February, it will be delayed until after the general election.