New Forest East


[David Tredinnick: I am listening carefully to my hon. Friend and thinking about the vote last year, when regrettably I was not able to support the Government. Listening to my hon. Friend, I would say that the problem was that chemical weapons could be moved around very easily, and so as a military objective it was not very satisfactory.

John Baron: I agree. Technically, the motion was about that, but there was also a push last year by the Government to arm rebels fighting Assad. However, because it would have been impossible to track and trace those arms, some of them would have ended up, inadvertently, in the hands of the very extremists we are now taking on in northern Iraq – a bitter irony if ever there was one.]

Dr Julian Lewis: It was precisely for that reason that my hon. Friend and I made common cause against the folly of that intervention. On Afghanistan, does our policy not tend to be too reactive to the last thing that happened? It was said that as soon as the Soviets left, the west left Afghanistan to stew in its own juices. It was to prevent that from happening again that the west made the bad mistake, as it turned out, of engaging in nation building.

[Mr Baron: I pay tribute to the work of my hon. Friend and others on both sides of the House in asking those difficult questions a year ago. We were right to do that. He is absolutely right about Afghanistan as well. ...]

[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]