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Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 219723, tabled on 5 January 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's policy on the disclosure of information concerning lethal strikes in Iraq.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

2 March 2015

Our policy on the disclosure of information regarding air strikes by Royal Air Force aircraft engaged on Operation Shader in Iraq is that the detail of each individual strike is carefully considered against the necessary constraint of maintaining operational security, but our over-riding principle is to seek to place information on each strike in the public domain in a prompt and timely manner.

This is consistent with, and a continuation of, Ministry of Defence practice for any operational information. It reflects the necessity for the Armed Forces of a democracy such as the UK not just to conduct military operations in a highly disciplined, careful and proportionate manner within the rule of law, but to demonstrate transparency and accountability for such activity. The need for this is all the more important when the military operations are being conducted against a terrorist organisation such as ISIL which wholly disregards the rule of law and relies on a perverted ideology and deceitful propaganda. This policy has been followed ever since the start of air strike operations in support of the Iraqi authorities, following the Parliamentary vote on 26 September. The primary channel for publishing this information is the Government website www.gov.uk, and the information thus disclosed has been regularly reported in the British and international media.

Interests declared
The Member has declared that they have interests which may be relevant to the subject matter of this question.