New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: Does not the question from the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Tam Dalyell), the Father of the House, illustrate the point that during the crisis, the Conservative Opposition have given the Government far more solid support for the necessary military action than they have been able to rely on from their own Back Benchers? Does not that mean that when my right hon. and hon. Friends raise questions about whether a vote will take place at the end of a debate or, inappropriately, in a deferred Division, it is not right for the Leader of the House to presume that we, rather than his own rebels, will divide the House, so our point stands?

May I remind the Leader of the House [Robin Cook] that in answer to the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Eric Forth) about the combat effectiveness gender study, the right hon. Gentleman said that as the policy was not going to change, there would not be a statement? However, the Secretary of State for Defence, who was accurately quoted by my right hon. Friend, said:

"I am currently considering the conclusions of a review on the employment of women in the armed forces and will make a further statement in due course." – [Official Report, 1 November 2001; Vol. 373, c. 767W.]

Will we get that statement, or must we just continue to read about it in the Sunday Telegraph?