British Special Forces in Afghanistan: New Allegations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:35 am on 14th July 2022.

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Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 10:35 am, 14th July 2022

Obviously, I very much agree with what my right hon. Friend has said, and we do have to be careful. What was published on Tuesday was a television programme in which some new evidence, allegedly, was brought to light, but the service police have asked the BBC to share that evidence with them so that it can be investigated. Beyond that, a lot of the allegations, particularly those relating to individuals, were very carefully calibrated to reach a certain point without crossing a line that might have got the production team in trouble with libel lawyers. I think we have to be very careful, as my right hon. Friend says, to be clear that what is said in TV programmes is not said in a court of law and has not been investigated by the police. We have asked the production team to hand over the evidence they have, and we must very careful not to impugn individuals based on what a production company insinuated, rather than actually alleged, in the programme.