Peter Hoskin

The rendition row

The rendition row
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David Miliband has confirmed that two US rendition flights – carrying suspected terrorists – stopped on UK territory in the Indian Ocean, in 2002. There had previously been “no evidence” of the flights, and the Foreign Secretary assured the House that previous assurances about rendition flights had been made in “good faith”.


The Government’s efforts are now directed at preventing the story spinning out of control. Miliband stressed that the Americans hadn’t purposefully misled the British Government on this, but had instead made an “error” during a “records search”. And much was made of the “vital role” that the US plays in helping the UK combat terrorism.


Nonetheless, this is deeply embarrassing for both governments, and there are still questions that need to be more fully answered. William Hague identified most of them – why has this only come to light now? Have the Americans made administrative changes to prevent this happening in future? etc. etc. 


But it’s the timing of this story that’s particularly disastrous for the government.  Coming out in the same week as the first draft of the “dodgy dossier” it once again dredges up “this huge stuff about trust”.  The public’s reaction will tell us how much of that was dealt with by Blair’s departure.