The Minister told Katy Clark that, although his initial response to her was “incorrect”, he had made it “in good faith on the advice of officials”. Mr Harvey apologised for “the error”.
Commenting on the matter, Katy Clark said, “It is clear that the Ministry of Defence have been misleading the public with their justification for Depleted Uranium use. Compliance with the Geneva Conventions has been used to reassure people on the legality of DU weapons. However, no review has taken place to ensure that the munitions used by UK armed forces meet the Conventions criteria.”
Ms Clark, Chair of the Westminster All-Party Parliamentary Group on Depleted Uranium, added, “I am pleased the Government has stated that a review will now take place and believe it should use this opportunity to carry out a detailed study into the long term impact of the use of Depleted Uranium. There is great concern that it is associated with increased cancer rates in places where it has been used, such as in Iraq.”
Depleted Uranium is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal produced as waste by the nuclear power industry. It is included in weapons because it is an extremely hard material capable of piercing armour. However, it can contaminate the environment, and has been linked to health problems in civilian populations.