Labour has accused the government of making a “completely irresponsible” suggestion that UK state secrets could be leaked if Jeremy Corbyn was given the full intelligence picture about the Salisbury nerve agent attack.
Security Minister Ben Wallace said on Thursday the Labour leader should be satisfied having “already seen more than the average backbench MP”.
“The circle of who gets to see very sensitive information is very small because if you leak it or it gets out, people’s lives are put at risk,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
“I don’t think he knows everything I know,” Wallace said.
Wallace added Corbyn was within his rights to “dispute” the government’s analysis of the attack.
“It’s not about him being helpful. He doesn’t have to be helpful. He can be critical. He can say whatever he likes. He is the leader of the Opposition and he has the perfect right and he should question the government,” he said.
A Labour spokesman hit back and accused Wallace of “playing party politics” with national security.
“This is completely irresponsible and another attempt by the Tories to deflect criticism from Boris Johnson’s blatant attempt to mislead the public,” the spokesman said,” the spokesman said.
“The foreign secretary has still failed to account for himself and still has serious questions to answer.”
Johnson is facing embarrassment over his claims about the Salisbury poisoning attack after the Foreign Office deleted a tweet claiming Russia had produced the nerve agent.
Corbyn said that Johnson had been “left with egg on his face” and had some “serious questions to answer”.
Johnson hit back that the Labour leader had chosen to “side with the Russian spin machine”.
The domestic spat comes as Russia called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council later today.
Yesterday Moscow lost a vote at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on its demand for it to be included in the investigation into the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.