Thursday, January 25, 2007

 

Ming at PMQs - full text

It's been a while, hasn't it? A blog is a terrible thing to waste.

Ming was excellent at PMQs today - but don't take my word for it, click here and go to 10 minutes 13 seconds in, or read on below:
Campbell

May I associate myself with the expressions of sympathy and condolence which the Prime Minister has expressed in relation to the young soldier who has been killed. May we also on this occasion remember those who have been wounded, some grievously, and whose lives have been deeply affected by that as a result of their service in Iraq.

General Dannatt has said that our presence in Iraq exacerbates the security situation. Later today in the debate on Iraq we will be setting out our proposals to bring the troops home by October. Should not the Prime Minister be setting out his proposals in that debate as well?

Blair

As I have already indicated I of course - when the operation currently going on in Basra allows us then to reconsider the configuration and deployment of our forces is finished then of I course will come to the House and report on future strategy for British forces. I have to say to him though first of all he does not represent General Dannatt accurately - that is not his view; secondly let me just tell him this: for us to set an arbitrary timetable - and that is what it is, it's arbitrary, it's not attached to the conditions in Iraq, it's simply saying that we will pull British troops out in October come what may - that would send the most disastrous signal to the people that we are fighting in Iraq. It is a policy that whatever its superficial attractions may be is actually deeply irresponsible, which is probably why it's the Liberal Democrat policy.

Campbell

Well if he feels that strongly he should come and debate these issues with us! What can possibly be more important than that the Prime Minister should be here to debate the issue of Iraq at a time when British forces are at risk every day in respect to their lives? isn't that the kind of leadership we're entitled to?

(massive cheer)

Blair

We're actually debating the issue with him now and I entirely agree that British forces are doing a fantastic job in Iraq in circumstances of difficulty and danger. But let us remind ourselves why they are there - they are there under a United Nations resolution with the full support of the Government of Iraq - he shakes his head - let me remind him in 2003 after the conflict and after the invasion of Iraq there was then a United Nations resolution that specifically endorsed the multinational force. We are there with the agreement of the Government of Iraq. When I spoke to the Vice-President of Iraq, himself a Sunni, just a few days ago he made it clear how disastrous it would be to set an arbitrary timetable for withdrawal, and the very way that we can make sure that the sacrifice troops has not been in vain is to see the mission through and complete it successfully.
The soldier that was killed was Pvt. Michael Tench of A Company, 2nd Battallion, Light Infantry. Condolences to his family and friends.

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