Written statement to Parliament

Arrangements for publication of the report of the Billy Wright inquiry

Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, talks about the Billy Wright inquiry report.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Rt Hon Owen Paterson

I am pleased to announce that the report of the Billy Wright Inquiry, chaired by Lord MacLean, will be published on 14 September.

In my written statement to this House on 6 July, I set out the steps that would need to be taken before publication of the Billy Wright 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 Maclean of this.

However, given the time needed for the Panel to finalise the text and to print the report, it will not be feasible to publish the report to Parliament before summer recess. I have therefore written to Lord MacLean asking him to retain custody of the report over recess.

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. I have not been briefed on the contents of the report, nor have any officials other than those in the checking team.

As with the publication of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry report, I intend to consider giving advance sight to those who were designated as Represented Parties by the Inquiry, to their legal representatives, and to some Members of this House. I intend to discuss this with the Speaker of this House in due course.

Published 26 July 2010