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In his statement to a packed House of Commons Defence Secretary Des Browne admitted he had "made mistakes" in not initially overruling the Navy’s decision to allow the Navy personnel detained in Iraq to sell their stories and that he "profoundly regretted" the impact his decisions have had on the reputation of Britain’s armed forces. He defended the Government’s response to the capture of the personnel and said the Government had sought to "galvanize" the international community to support British efforts to get the Navy personnel released. He promised to set up an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the capture of Navy personnel and a review in to the media handling of the story.

In response Liam Fox asked a series of detailed questions and highlighted the Defence Secretary’s refusal to actually say sorry (which after Dr Fox’s prompting he did). The Shadow Defence Secretary said that even though no-one had held Lord Carrington and his team responsible for the invasion of the Falklands when the Islands were invaded he and his Ministers resigned; for them it was "a matter of honour." Liam Fox ended by saying Mr Browne’s position was becoming "untenable" because he could not "command the necessary confidence in his decision making".

Andrew Burkinshaw

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