HC Deb 28 January 2004 vol 417 cc368-9W
Harry Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what complaints have been received about the adequacy of investigations into Iraqi deaths resulting from UK military action; and if he will make a statement. [142615]

Mr. Ingram

We have received a number of letters from members of the public and enquiries from the media some of which have expressed concern about investigations into Iraqi deaths allegedly caused by United Kingdom forces.

The most common concerns expressed have been about the speed with which investigations are carried out, their independence and whether their results would be made public. In responding we make clear that investigations are thorough, which can take time; that both the Royal Military Police and, if called on, the single-service Prosecuting Authorities are fully independent of the chain of command; and that while the findings of investigations are subject to legal, operational and other security constraints, there may be some circumstances in which we are able to release certain details to entitled persons.

Adam Price

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the use of hoods on Iraqi citizens in the course of their arrest or detention in Iraq. [147708]

Mr. Ingram

Current practice in Iraq is that hoods are not used on Iraqi citizens during or after their arrest.

Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has received on the smelting plant near Basra which is melting down tanks and armoured vehicles contaminated by depleted uranium; and what efforts are being made to identify and close down such facilities in the area controlled by British forces. [148056]

Mr. Ingram

There is no known legitimate operational smelting plant in the Basra region. A small number of illegal mobile smelting plants used for smuggled copper and aluminium have been found and closed down. There is no evidence they had been used to smelt tanks.

Military vehicles known to have been hit by DU munitions within the southern sector of Iraq controlled by the British military have been clearly marked. Arrangements are currently being negotiated with the US for a contractor to collect and store these military vehicles.

Andrew George

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the report on the accident involving two Royal Navy Sea King helicopters in Iraq in March 2003 will be published. [150990]

Mr. Ingram

[holding answer 26 January 2004]As is usual practice, on completion of the accident investigation, a copy of the findings of the Military Aircraft Accident Summary into the Royal Navy Sea King accident of March 2003 will be placed in the Library of the House. That investigation is not yet complete.

Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of weapons used for the first time in battlefield conditions in the war on Iraq. [151373]

Mr. Ingram

Two weapons were used for the first time in Iraq, Storm Shadow and Maverick missiles.

Operational feedback is that both missiles were accurate and effective against a range of targets.