BUSINESS QUESTION – ITN CREWMEN – 22 May 2003

Dr Julian Lewis: May we have a statement from the Secretary of State for Defence [Geoff Hoon] on precisely what assistance he is willing to offer to Independent Television News in its sad quest to determine the fate of Fred Nerac and Hussein Osman, who were with Terry Lloyd when he was killed 60 days ago? On 9 May, the Secretary of State told ITN that until there was evidence of a war crime it would not be possible to have a formal investigation, and that is fully understood. It appears that the right hon. Gentleman has not yet issued an instruction to the Military Police in Iraq to assist ITN with its searches. Will the right hon. Gentleman please bring this matter to the attention of the Secretary of State for Defence? We owe a great deal to these brave men, and their families are extremely distressed.

[The Leader of the House (Dr John Reid): I agree with the hon. Gentleman and congratulate him on the interest that he takes in the matter and in military affairs generally. I will certainly bring the matter to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.]

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Letter from Dr Lewis Moonie MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, to Julian Lewis MP, 3 June 2003:

"Dear Julian,

During the Business Statement on 22 May you raised the issue of the ITN journalists, Fred Nerac and Hussein Osman, who disappeared in Iraq.

You will wish to be aware that the Royal Military Police have now launched an investigation into the disappearance of the two men. Geoff Hoon wrote to the Chairman of ITN, Mark Wood, on 27 May to inform him of this.

Best wishes,

Lewis"