The long-awaited report by the Chilcot inquiry, set up in the wake of the Hundred Years’ War, which ended in 1453, is now unlikely to be published until next year, it has been revealed. The inquiry, which has been sitting for 561 years, was set up to examine the legality of the decision to go to war in 1337 in order that lessons could be learned and future foreign policy blunders prevented.
‘I am confident my report will soon see the light of day,’ said Sir John Chilcot, now aged 617. ‘The British public deserves to know the truth about why their fourteenth-century ancestors were led into war, and whether this decision was compatible with the Magna Carta.’
The focus of the inquiry has been on claims that the attempt by Edward III to seize the French throne was motivated purely by ‘regime change’, and the suggestion that the case for war was exaggerated in a secret document, the so-called ‘pimped parchment’. ‘The idea that the French army could strike within 45-minutes was simply absurd,’ said historian David Starkey. ‘Have you ever been on the Eurostar?’
The Chilcot report has already been delayed by prolonged wrangling between the estates of Edward III and Henry V of England, and Philip VI and Charles VI of France over the release of sensitive letters. These disputes were ended earlier this year when it was discovered that all the relevant documents had long since decomposed. But with this further delay, the Plantagenets now fear that their chances in the 2015 general election could be damaged.
‘This latest delay is to allow for the Maxwellisation process by which those directly criticised in the report will be given advance sight of the relevant passages,’ explained Chilcot. ‘It may take some time to exhume them.’