Daily Mirror photographs claiming to show abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers “were categorically not taken in Iraq”, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told MPs today.
He said that was not only the opinion of the Royal Military Police’s Special Investigations Branch but of independent experts.
Mr Ingram, opening a Commons debate on Ministry of Defence personnel matters, said: “The truck in which these pictures were taken was never in Iraq.”
The newspaper has insisted that the British government should provide evidence that the photos were faked.
Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram said, in a statement released at Westminster: “The publication in the Daily Mirror of photographs which now turn out to have been faked has had consequences of the utmost seriousness for our troops serving in Iraq and for the reputation of the British armed services throughout the world.
“The Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice, to which both Piers Morgan and Trinity Mirror adhere, stipulates that editors must ‘take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted material’, including pictures.
“Those rules are included in the editor’s contract of employment. Now that it is clear that he has breached the PCC Code by publishing photos which it is proved have been distorted, the publisher must decide swiftly what action to take.”
Mr Ingram also defended to MPs his statement last week that he had seen no adverse reports relating to British treatment of Iraqis, even though Amnesty International claimed to have sent him details months before.
Mr Ingram said Amnesty had sent him only a one-page letter which did not amount to a report.
The Armed Forces Minister also told MPs: “It is deeply disturbing that there are those who are prepared to casually vilify our armed forces without establishing the facts.”