January 19, 2011
A request by the Iraq Inquiry to publish the correspondence was rejected this week – even though both leaders have discussed their contents extensively in their recent memoirs.
A transcript of evidence given behind closed doors by Matthew Rycroft, the former prime minister’s private secretary, and released by the inquiry yesterday shows that references to the notes, sent in the year running up to the March 2003 invasion, were removed from official records.
He told the inquiry that Mr Blair considered the letters to be part of a “personal dialogue” and so he deleted references to them from minutes of phone calls between the leaders.
Sir John Chilcot, the Inquiry chairman, has expressed his “disappointment” that his request to declassify the letters, along with notes taken of meetings between the two, was rejected.