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article image'Sorry' Seems to be Hardest Word for Browne as He Faces Wrath For Selling Sailor Stories

By Michelle Duffy     Apr 16, 2007 in Politics
Defence Secretary Des Browne has his position within in the government questioned over the Navy allowing the freed sailors to sell their tales for cash
In a desperate attempt to keep in line, Mr Browne has admitted an element of responsibility for the decision for the 15 freed sailors by Iran to sell their stories to the newspapers, yet the apology doesn't seem to be enough for some as the Tories are ready to jump in and dive into the sea of finger pointing.
The Tories have asked, of Mr Browne to either stand down or 'justify his actions.' Their argument is that the excellent reputation of the British Armed forces that goes back hundreds of years is frighteningly close to collapse if nothing else is done about the sold stories.
The BBC has been told on good authority that Mr Browne will be officially announcing the start of an inquiry into the reasons why the sailors were allowed to go public in the first place. As a brief sigh of relief, it would also appear that Browne has already got the nod from other significant officials within the military. These names of importance include Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup. This statement will be announced at half past three this afternoon, London time.
Mr Browne has had a rough time. As well as pressure to announce an inquiry, he has also had to face further criticism for his own personal blunders so far this week. He had, initially given his blessing for the stories to be sold to which ever paper the sailors wished, then promptly added, after the event that he 'should have handled the matter in a different light.'
This semi-apology only came to light when the explosion of complaints came flooding in to the House of Commons from families of wounded and killed servicemen, opposition members of the bench and military leaders including powerful former officials.
Even Mr Blair has been on the criticism list, since cutting out his own name from the blame. Yet Home Secretary, John Reid has backed up the Browne blunder saying that his decision was noble and exhibited courage. He was right to say sorry, and we should be grateful for just a quick 'sorry.'
Mr Reid had said, with much feeling to Sky News,
"You take decisions every day of the week when you hold a great office of state. I think it was courageous [of Mr Browne] to say we got this thing wrong."
Mr Reid also added that he thought that the reputation would not be effected enough to be a permanent 'tarnish.'
Leading Seaman Faye Turney apparently sold her side of the story for a massive six figure sum to the UK Sun newspaper. The government where told that a significant portion of this money will go to Naval families. A documentary including an interview given by Miss Turney for ITV1's Tonight with Trevor Macdonald was also screened.
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