Home Secretary Alan Johnson made a statement to Parliament this afternoon about aviation and border security in the wake of the failed attempt by Umah Farouk Abdulmutallab to destroy a plane above Detroit on Christmas Day.
His Tory Shadow, Chris Grayling, was again in attack dog mode as he lambasted Gordon Brown and Downing Street for spinning intelligence information in its aftermath:
"The person who should be before the House explaining himself this afternoon is not the Home Secretary but the Prime Minister. Twice in three days the Prime Minister has been caught out making false claims about the contacts that have taken place between Britain and the United States over the airline bomb plot and the security threat to our airports. On Sunday he admitted to the BBC that supposed discussions between himself and President Obama about the bomb plot and the situation in Yemen had not actually taken place.
"Then, yesterday, he claimed that Britain had supplied to the United States in 2008 intelligence about the bomb suspect and his links to extremists—a claim that Downing Street now admits was untrue. This Government, the House will remember, have systematically misused intelligence data over the years, most notably in relation to the so-called dodgy dossier. Does the Home Secretary agree that it is absolutely unacceptable for the Prime Minister—the man who leads our Government—to exaggerate, mislead on or spin intelligence information, particularly when it relates to a terrorist threat?
"The Home Secretary told the House this afternoon: “It is an established and accepted principle that we do not routinely comment on intelligence matters.” Why did the Prime Minister and Downing street break that principle this week? Does the Home Secretary agree also that it is damaging to our most important intelligence relationship, with the United States, for Downing street to disseminate information in such an inaccurate and cavalier way?"
"People of all faiths have been victims of terrorists over the past decade, and we must all stand together against that threat. However, that task has not been helped by the actions of Downing street in recent days."