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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Piers Morgan's statement in full
Here is the text of the Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan's response to a government statement which said the tabloid's photos allegedly showing British troops abusing Iraqis were not taken in the Gulf state.

In the last two weeks the Daily Mirror has exposed a significant amount of serious unlawful abuse by a rogue group of British troops against Iraqi detainees.

Abuse similar to allegations that the government was made aware of months ago by the Red Cross and Amnesty International, but the details and scale of which the British public would have known nothing about were it not for the Daily Mirror.

We have listened to what Mr Ingram has said today (Thursday), but he has still not produced incontrovertible evidence that the pictures are faked.

Nor has he satisfactorily answered the very serious charge of why he failed to act on information about this abuse presented to him last year.

But these photographs were just one piece of evidence about one incident.

There is, of course, a much bigger issue here that we make no apology for highlighting - which is that the pictures accurately illustrated the reality about the appalling conduct of some British troops.

And in particular, the conduct of certain members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment - conduct which is already the subject of ongoing disciplinary proceedings.

And conduct which stains the reputation of that regiment and the British Army.

In relation to Mr Ingram's allegation that we have not co-operated with the SIB (Special Investigations Branch) in their investigation, this as he knows is nonsense.

Although we will not provide any information which might lead to the identification of our sources, we would point out that we did provide Soldier C.

A soldier who served with the Queen's Lancashire Regiment last summer and who spent six hours with the SIB last week providing detailed evidence of abuse and named those who had perpetrated it.

We would stress again that the Daily Mirror has nothing but admiration for the 99% of British servicemen and women who behave with honour and courage at all times.

But there is no place in our Armed Forces for those who have committed such abuse against Iraqi PoWs.

And we hope the government now takes urgent action to bring the perpetrators to book, with the same vigour and speed with which they are pursuing the veracity of these pictures.

The BBC's Polly Billington
"A chance to set the record straight for the armed forces minister"

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