asked the Secretary of State for Air who was responsible for the officially inspired statements, issued last week, to the effect that the Imperial Air Forces in Libya had retained superiority over the enemy throughout the recent campaign; that the greatest concentration of enemy dive-bombers never exceeded 30 and that the Royal Air Force were now using a new antitank aircraft; how did the enemy succeed so swiftly in bringing up troops, guns and transport and establishing forward air bases on the heels of our retreating forces; and, in view of the conflicting evidence and the unexpected defeat suffered by our arms, whether he will institute an immediate inquiry into the facts and report the results to Parliament with the least delay?
I can assure my hon. Friend that I am in constant communication with the Commander-in-Chief, who keeps me very fully informed, and if the opportunity is afforded me I shall be very glad to make a statement on the subject,
Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman will then be prepared to answer the specific question as to who is responsible for issuing these misleading communiqués? Is he aware of the deplorable effect upon Service men of being told things which they know not to be true?
I cannot be held responsible for newspaper correspondents' articles, but for anything which is issued with official inspiration I am fully responsible.