Miliband apologises over rendition flights

Foreign Secretary David Miliband apologised to MPs today after admitting that US "special rendition" flights had twice landed on British soil in contravention of earlier Government assurances.

Mr Miliband said in a Commons statement that on two occasions in 2002 US flights carrying terrorist suspects stopped to refuel at the airbase on the British Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia.

He told MPs that US officials informed the UK last week of the flights, which took place contrary to earlier assurances given by the Americans.

He said his concern about the case was shared by US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

"We both agree that the mistakes made in these two cases are not acceptable and she shares my deep regret that this information has only just come to light," he said.

Mr Miliband told MPs that he was "very sorry indeed" to have to correct previous statements made by then prime minister Tony Blair and foreign secretary Jack Straw that rendition flights had not used British bases.

He said the cases involving Diego Garcia had not come to light before because of an "error" in an earlier US records search.

"The House and the Government will share deep disappointment at this news, and about its late emergence. That disappointment is shared by our US allies," he said.

"They recognise the absolute imperative for the British Government to provide accurate information to Parliament. I reaffirm the Government's commitment to that imperative today."

Mr Miliband said that in each of the two cases, the aircraft involved had been carrying a single detainee - neither of them British - who did not leave the plane while it was on the ground at Diego Garcia.

One of those detainees has since been released but the other is still being held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay.

Mr Miliband said the Americans had given an assurance that no detainees had been held on Diego Garcia and that US records showed no record of any other rendition through Diego Garcia or any other UK territory.

Nevertheless, he said he has now ordered officials to draw up a list of all flights about which concerns had been expressed regarding the use of UK territory.

He said it would be presented to the Americans with a view to seeking their "specific assurance" that none of the flights had been used for rendition purposes.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Piece Dyed Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning UK textile innovator specia...

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Sales Consultant / Presales Engineer / Sales Engineer

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software House that produces ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is Europe's indust...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Technician

£17020 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Aerospace company is looki...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen