THE Westminster establishment are trying to brush the Chilcot report “under the carpet”, according to one SNP MP.

Angus McNeil made the comments ahead of a debate today into the much delayed investigation into the Iraq war. The last hearing by the inquiry was in February 2011, and the report was promised within months.

McNeil said: “The Iraq war was a foreign policy catastrophe that had a devastating impact on many families across the UK, Iraq and internationally. The delay in publication of the Chilcot report is outrageous. It will mean a full seven years from the onset of the inquiry and 13 years after the outbreak of the illegal conflict.

“There always seems to be a reason to push it back – Christmas – an election – a referendum – and the credibility of the final report is increasingly being diminished.

“Instead of eventually clearing up why we invaded Iraq illegally, it now has the potential to become an international embarrassment. It is almost as if the Westminster establishment is trying to brush it under carpet – and that is intolerable.”

Indications are that as many as 150 ex-ministers, civil servants and military figures will be criticised in the report. The Sunday Telegraph last weekend said the report was now being looked over by spies working for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to make sure there were no security issues.

There was some criticism of the report being vetted by the security services, with Reg Keys, whose son died in the war, worried that it could lead to a “whitewash”.

He told the Telegraph: “There needs to be a referee almost if someone says ‘I am taking this out’ then it needs to be shown to an independent person otherwise it will be a whitewash, it will be sanitised.”

A source close to the inquiry said: ‘It is not deleting or redacting anything that is embarrassing it is just taking out or checking that anything genuinely secret is not left in.”

John Penrose, the minister responsible for the report, said: “Nobody wants this to take any longer than it has already. The process of checking by security officials will take no more than two weeks to complete. Sir John can then complete the process of preparing his report for publication on the timetable set out in his letter to the Prime Minister last October.”