No inquiry into 7 July bombings
BBC News, 14 December 2005
There will be no public inquiry into the 7 July London bombings which killed 52 people, the Home Office has said.
Ministers will instead publish a definitive account of what happened in a written narrative.
The account will include material gathered from intelligence and security agencies and the police.
But some Muslim groups and victims’ relatives have expressed anger, saying a wider public inquiry is essential for understanding what happened.
The attacks by four suicide bombers on three Tube trains and a bus on 7 July killed 52 people and injured hundreds.
After the bombings there were calls for a public inquiry and, in September, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said one had not been ruled out.
But ministers have decided it would divert attention and resources away from pressing security and community issues, and take too long.
The government has acknowledged, however, that the public requires a complete picture about the events, and details about the four men who carried out the attacks.
A narrative of events will not satisfy anybody. This is not something we will go away on
Saba Mozakka, whose mother Behnaz died in the Piccadilly Line bomb attack
The remit of the inquests into their deaths does not extend that far and the information will not emerge at a criminal trial – because there will not be one as the bombers also died in the attacks.
Instead, a senior civil servant will compile a narrative, drawing together intelligence and police material.
It will be signed off by the home secretary.
BBC Home affairs correspondent Margaret Gilmore said: "I understand the home secretary sent a letter earlier this week to Tony Blair outlining his plans, which have backing from Downing Street, police and the intelligence agencies."
Leading Muslims who have been lobbying for an inquiry say such a straight narrative would not be enough.
"There has to be a fully comprehensive public inquiry that will provide us the information we need as to what actually happened on the day, how it happened and why it happened so that we will be better prepared to prevent such tragedy happening again," Sir Iqbal Sacranie, of the Muslim Council of Britain, told the BBC.
Lawyer for some of the victims Colin Ettinger told the BBC he would like to see a more wide-ranging enquiry to ensure other sources of evidence come to light, and for interested parties to be able to question that evidence.
And Saba Mozakka, whose mother Behnaz died in the Piccadilly Line bomb blast near King’s Cross, said it was "unacceptable" not to hold a public inquiry.
"The families will be campaigning for there to be a full public inquiry," she said.
"A narrative of events will not satisfy anybody. This is not something we will go away on."
Opposition MPs want to know if key intelligence questions on the bombings will be fully answered.
They want to find out why there was no intelligence of the planned attack, whether officers should have followed up an earlier sighting of the alleged ringleader, and why the UK threat level was reduced.
Shadow homeland affairs minister Patrick Mercer said: "I don’t think a straight narrative is exactly what we want.
"We need to know what the links were with the various different individuals, whether they had links abroad. And why the government reduced the level of warning a mere five weeks before the attack."
It is expected that the document will be submitted for publication to two Parliamentary committees which are conducting their own inquiries.