For the next four years, Lord Saville of Newdigate will dominate the lives of the members of the Northern Ireland Select Committee of the Commons, starting Wednesday at 3.15 pm. ( I made up the bit about the four years).
The one-off session will cover a range of issues including:
- lessons to be learnt from carrying out an inquiry into the past in Northern Ireland
- the adequacy of legislation on public inquiries in the UK
- the length of time and cost of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, and
- the difficulties in gathering and establishing the veracity of evidence from the past.
Meanwhile the House of Lords will be debating the Bloody Sunday report at the very same time Saville is explaining himself to MPs. Most peers won’t therefore be able to hear what he has said.
You couldn’t make that bit up.
He has quite bit to get off his chest, having already said he would refuse to chair an inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act, as it allows ministers to limit the budget of inquiries – an encroachment on judicial independence, he claimed.
The act was passed partly as a reaction to Saville. Will MPs bluntly criticise the inordinate length of the inquiry to his face and peers behind his back?