HC Deb 22 April 1987 vol 114 cc654-5
4. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he intends to take to prevent further forgery of British passports by Israel or other foreign states.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Tim Eggar)

We deplore the recent incident involving the misuse of forged British passports by the Israeli Government. In response to strong protests, the Israelis gave assurances that there will be no recurrence. Added security features in the machine-readable passport to be introduced next year should make forgery more difficult and more detectable.

Mr. Adley

Can my hon. Friend confirm that that has been done on three occasions, that it was done with the full knowledge of the Israeli Government, and that the British Government have no information about what use was made of those passports? Does my hon. Friend not think that a light slap on the wrist to the Israeli ambassador for that grotesque deception is in marked contrast to what the Government's reaction would have been had such deception been carried out by an Arab Government? Why are there double standards in this case?

Mr. Eggar

There are no double standards. I assure my hon. Friend that his information is correct. This is the third time on which such an incident has occurred, but we have made it perfectly clear to Israel that such behaviour by a friendly Government is completely unacceptable and bound to prejudice our relations. We have sought and secured a categorical assurance of non-recurrence.