The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe)
My Lords, with the leave of the House I should like to make a personal statement.
On Thursday of last week I was telephoned in the House by a journalist who told me that his inquiries had led him to believe that my Written Answers to the noble Countess, Lady Mar, on 4th June and 5th July last year about the deaths of animals during the Gulf War were incorrect. I immediately set in hand an investigation. Early yesterday evening I received departmental advice that there is now considerable doubt about the accuracy of my Answers. This is a serious matter about which I feel it right to inform the House at the earliest opportunity. I shall report to the House as soon as the full facts are clear.