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Bloody Sunday Inquiry

Volume 718: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010


My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Shaun Woodward) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

In my Written Statement to this House on 22 March, I set out the steps that would need to be taken before publication of the Bloody Sunday inquiry report. These included a checking process which would enable me to meet the obligations on me in relation to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and national security. I can confirm that this checking process has now been completed and I have received advice from the checking team which confirms that there is nothing in the report which, if published, could breach Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights by putting the lives or safety of individuals at risk, or put national security at risk. I am therefore satisfied that the report can be published in full and I have advised Lord Saville of this.

However, given the time needed to print the report, it will not be practically possible to publish the report to Parliament before this Parliament is dissolved for the general election. As I informed the House in my Statement of 22 March, Lord Saville has indicated that if such a situation were to arise his tribunal would agree to retain custody of the report until after the general election. I have now written to Lord Saville to ask the tribunal to retain custody of the report.

The report has not been shown to me or to any other member of the Government, or to any officials except the five members of the team which carried out the checking process. Before the checking process began, I confirmed in writing to Lord Saville that it was not my intention that the checking team should brief me or any member of my department on the content of the report; they have not done so and will not do so. The report will not be submitted to the Government until after the general election, and I hope that it can then be published as soon as practicable. I have placed copies of my letters to Lord Saville in the Libraries of both Houses.