In this week’s Defence Questions, I asked the Secretary of State about the UK and US intelligence documents on Syria.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): Why was the intelligence document published by President Obama on Friday so much more comprehensive, detailed and compelling than the one the Secretary of State published just the day before? If the Secretary of State was not in possession of the same information, which I find difficult to believe, why did he not wait until he could put all of the facts before this House, instead of forcing Members to make a decision when it was too soon and we were not in possession of the facts?
Mr Hammond: First of all, I did not publish a document. The chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee wrote to the Prime Minister summarising the judgement of the UK intelligence community. That was done in an atmosphere in which we were extremely conscious of the parallels with Iraq 2003 and extremely cautious about presenting any argument to Parliament that relied or depended on intelligence information that we could not publish or produce. I think we made the right judgement in presenting our argument cautiously, relying only on information that was available and could be examined by Members of the House of Commons.