Today the Prime Minister should be asked two sets of questions about Iraq. Why did he cut or limit tightly the defence budget, uniquely amongst all the budgets he supervised, at a time of war? What were the consequences for our troops of his decisions on the purchase of helicopters, body armour, and protected vehicles? What was his attitude to the war? Did he ever question its wisdom or its legality? Why didn’t he make a strong case for it when out and about as a senior cabinet Minister in a government committed to it? Did he have any reservations then or now about what the UK did?
My own interest is today stronger in the war in Afghanistan. All too many of our young soldiers are dying there. We are expending large amounts of blood and treasure on this conflict. This is the Obama/Brown war, the war they have just intensified, the war they clearly do support. Whilst I understand you do not announce an exit date in a way which could increase the difficulties for our troops, I would like to feel that the government is impatient to leave Afghanistan to the Afghans to govern. These wars in the Middle East do not make me feel safer. We cannot conquer and garrison great swathes of the Middle East and should not be wanting to. There has been too little emphasis on political solutions, to what are problems of government more than military questions.