That sensitive MOD documents were found strewn behind a bus stop in Kent last Tuesday morning is certainly embarrassing for Ministers, but it is deeply worrying for those concerned with our national security, so I thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting this urgent question. This is not the first time that there have been known leaks based on classified documents from the MOD that have found their way beyond the MOD. In January, it was the assessment of how far short of our fighting strength our infantry battalions are. Early this month, it was personal details of more than 1,000 forces personnel, including special forces, which the Armed Forces Minister has now confirmed to me is also subject to a military police investigation. Are the military police involved in this investigation?
I am glad that the Minister has confirmed that the investigation will look at how and why these highly classified documents were copied and then carried out of the Department. When will it report, and will he publish the findings? He needs to do more to reassure us about the risks involved in the leak. Will he confirm the level of “UK Eyes Only” classification that the document had? Has the inquiry yet ruled out espionage? Were our allies informed immediately, and at what appropriate level?
The Minister mentions ongoing operations. Our frontline forces on HMS Defender were totally professional in dealing with aggressive Russian actions in the Black sea last week, but they must be asking, “What about our back-up at the MOD?” when top secret documents about their mission, ahead of their mission, found their way to the back of this bus stop in Kent. Finally, Ministers need to do more to reassure the public and our forces personnel that they have a grip of their Department, and have taken actions to stop the series of security breaches at the Department.