MP says person responsible for loss of sensitive papers about HMS Defender's Black Sea deployment should 'walk the plank'

THE person responsible for losing sensitive Ministry of Defence papers about HMS Defender must ‘walk the plank,’ an MP has said.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 4:38 pm
Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender. CPOA(Phot) Thomas McDonald

It comes as the House of Commons heard from a defence minister about how the documents about the Type 45’s controversial deployment in the Black Sea came to be found at a bus stop.

Defence minister James Quin said it was a ‘mistake’ and investigation will be carried out – covering from why they were printed to the handling of the aftermath of the report.

Officials have taken back possession of the documents from the BBC.

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Conservative MP James Sunderland told the Commons there appeared to have been a ‘deliberate act’ in removing ‘pink paper from a secure area’.

He said: ‘Can the minister please confirm that when the culprit is proven to be negligent, that he or she is invited to walk the plank?’

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Similar sentiments were echoed by Tory MP Bill Wiggin and Labour’s Chris Bryrant, who said: ‘The government needs to make sure that if someone has acted recklessly and put British service personnel in danger, that that person will be expected to resign.’

Replying to Mr Sunderland, Mr Quin said: ‘I understand the concern over this issue and the concern will have been shared by others in this place, and former serving colleagues.

‘But I think it is important that we have the investigation and we find out exactly what’s at fault here, and that also includes an examination of armed forces procedures to make sure they are fit for purpose.”

Earlier in the Commons, Mr Quin said: ‘This is a mistake, it appears.

‘I don't want to prejudge the investigation but it appears it was a mistake made by an individual.

‘I'm very sorry this incident has happened and the investigation will be thorough.’

He added: ‘The papers have now been recovered from the BBC and are being assessed as I speak to check that all documents missing have been recovered and what mitigation actions might be necessary.

‘The investigation will look at the actions of individuals, including the printing of the papers through to the management of the reported incident, and the underlying processes for the printing and carriage of papers in defence.’