Commons Leader Robin Cook today apologised to MPs for misleading the House over aspects of the Martin Sixsmith resignation affair.
Grilled in the Commons on the controversy hours after it broke in the press on February 14, Mr Cook had denied there was any disagreement between the Transport Department chief press officer and spin doctor Jo Moore.
He also told MPs at the time that a crucial e–mail, printed in The Mirror and apparently sent from Mr Sixsmith to Ms Moore, did not exist.
Today, facing questions for the first time since making those statements, he said he had spoken out on the basis of false information.
He said: "At the time I said there was no disagreement between Mr Sixsmith and Jo Moore, which I accept is difficult to reconcile with all we have since learned.
"More seriously, I said there was no such e–mail.
"The Mirror has subsequently recorded that it was misled as to the contents of the e–mail and that it was not addressed to Jo Moore, but that there was an e–mail.
"I would not have used those words had I been aware of that at that time.
"I always seek to be accurate if combative in my replies. I regret that on the last occasion I was not in possession of accurate information.
"I apologise to the House for having, in all good faith, misled it and to the Mirror for having done it an injustice."Reuse content