Eyebrows were raised yesterday evening during a late sitting of a Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee when a top army man was forced to disclose certain uncomfortable details relating to a steep rise in tank insurance premiums. The revelations came after a court case resulted in a victory for a Taiwanese firm of underwriters who had refused to pay out on a claim, citing misrepresentations in the policy schedule. Brigadier General Sir Montpelier de Montmartre told the inquiry he thought the term misrepresentation was a bit strong. Where we had tanks parked overnight in our compound in Basra, he said, I believe it was technically correct to describe the vehicles as parked on British soil. We maybe stretched it slightly when we ticked safe and secure environment, which was perhaps more of a subjective assessment. Personally, I did deal with most of my paperwork there in an underground bunker. The Brigadier said he was prepared to accept that cultural differences could have given rise to misunderstandings over the wording used on some tank insurance application forms. When we described the tanks as cars, we simply meant a form of motorised vehicular transport as opposed to, say, a bicycle or a rickshaw. Similarly, when youre on a mission to win hearts and minds and save a nation from civil war, I still say personal and domestic use only was the correct box to tick. Major increases in the premiums on British tanks in Iraq were introduced in the wake of the Taiwanese court case. Chairman of the Select Committee Sir Donald Donaldson also noted that roadside bombs were now to be classed as fair wear and tear and excluded from future claims. With millions of pounds in extra funding being needed just to meet the insurance premiums, the chairman commented: Fortunately, Gordon Brown is no longer in charge of the public purse. Unfortunately, hes now the PM. This may mean moving the war nearer home. You know, you might be able to get a good deal with Tesco Online, maybe even suggest holding the war in their Barnet store car park. Have you tried the Norwich? Yes, replied the Brigadier; Quote me happy for a 62-tonne Challenger, I said. He just laughed and said get off the f*cking line, Churchill.