The inquiry into the Iraq War should be published in June or July 2016, its author says.
Sir John Chilcot set out the timetable in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron on the inquiry’s website.
National security checks will be done on the report, which is over two million words long, he said.
The mother of a British soldier killed in Iraq said it was “another let-down”, criticising the time taken to publish the inquiry, which began in 2009.
It is considering how UK forces came to participate in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its aftermath.
In his letter, Sir John says the text of his report should be completed in the week starting 18 April 2016, at which point the process of national security checking will begin.
Such checking is “normal and necessary” with inquiries handling large amounts of sensitive material, he said.
It will ensure that national security and Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to life, are not “inadvertently breached” by publication, he said.
“I consider that once national security checking has been completed it should be possible to agree a date for publication in June or July 2016,” he added.
The Iraq War
- The US-led invasion of Iraq started on 19 March 2003 with a “shock-and-awe” campaign intended as a show of force
- The US and the UK claimed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction he was capable of using
- The capital Baghdad fell in April and US President George W Bush declared “mission accomplished” weeks later
- Saddam Hussein was captured, tried by the new Iraqi government and hanged. Insurgency continued
- British forces ended combat operations in 2009 and the US did so the following year
- A total of 179 UK service personnel and nearly 4,500 US soldiers were killed in the conflict
- British-based organisation Iraq Body Count estimates 134,400 to 151,652 Iraqi civilians died since 2003, and United Nations estimates 18,805 between 2008-12 – all counts and estimates of Iraqi deaths are highly disputed
- The Chilcot inquiry into the UK’s role in the war was established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009
MPs and peers have expressed frustration with the length of time it is taking, and in June Mr Cameron said he was “fast losing patience”.
Sir John has previously rejected calls to publish a timetable for publication, saying he did not want to “arouse false hopes”.
The process of giving key figures the right to respond to criticism, known as Maxwellisation, has been blamed for holding up the process.
Sir John ended his letter to the prime saying: “My colleagues and I remain committed to producing a report that will meet the very wide ranging terms of reference we were given and reflect the considerable investment of time and effort by all involved.”
Reg Keys, whose son, Lance Corporal Tom Keys, was killed in Iraq in June 2003, was critical of the “ridiculous” Maxwellisation process, saying it had been allowed to “run on far too long”.
He predicted the report, when it was eventually published, would be a “watered-down” version of criticism raised during the inquiry.
The mother of Royal Highland Fusilier Gordon Gentle, who was killed aged 19 in a bomb attack in Basra in 2004, said she was “disappointed” by the latest news from the inquiry.
Rose Gentle, from Glasgow, said: “We thought it should be out a lot sooner than this. I thought it would be out by the end of the year, because they have everything there.
“It’s another let-down. It’s another few months to wait and suffer again.”