Mr Redwood’s intervention’s during the Backbench Debate on Iran, 20 Feb

5.44 pm

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): On reflection, does the right hon. Gentleman think that the war in Iraq increased the stability or the instability of the middle east?

Mr Jack Straw (Blackburn) (Lab): I hope the right hon. Gentleman will allow me not to go down that particular rabbit hole. I have given endless evidence to the inquiry into Iraq, and I do not resile from my support for that military action, not least for the reasons that my hon. Friend the Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Mr McCann) gave. We can have that debate on another occasion, but it is incontrovertible, as the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay showed, that the Iraq war changed the balance of power in the region. We knew that it was going to do that, but that provides still more reason for us to use better our relations with the US.

5.56 pm

Mr Redwood: Given the amount of blood and treasure that we have shed in the middle east in recent years, does my right hon. Friend agree that in this difficult and potentially dangerous situation we should look to the considerable regional powers to take the lead, in consultation with the United States of America, and not rush in ourselves?

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): Of course we need to work on this with all the regional powers. My right hon. Friend can be assured that the regional powers are extremely concerned about Iran’s nuclear programme. However, we also have our responsibilities as a member of the United Nations Security Council, and we must live up to those responsibilities on this, as on all other occasions.