Iran (Detention of Naval Personnel)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 4:16 pm on 19th June 2007.

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Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames Conservative, Mid Sussex 4:16 pm, 19th June 2007

The Secretary of State must agree that this incident was a very serious operational failure indeed. If the captain of one of Her Majesty's ships were to run it aground on a sand bank, he would be arraigned before a court martial. It seems astonishing to me that the right hon. Gentleman can come to the House with a report by General Fulton—which clearly has been staffed to death by the Royal Navy—and say that the affair is over and that we should draw a line under it. Does he accept that that shows a woeful and shameful lack of leadership and grip on his part and on the part of his Department? Will he tell the CDS that he has better things to do than take part in ill judged public relations stunts that involved welcoming back from the disaster a crew who should have spent two days at home and then been sent straight back to their ships?