DEFENCE – SECURITY SITUATION IN IRAQ – 10 January 2005

Dr Julian Lewis: Is it not a fact that British forces can make up with skill what they lack in numbers in this field because they have more experience of successful counter-insurgency, particularly in the long Malayan campaign, than any other force in the world? What steps is the Secretary of State taking to ensure that the skills and experience of British forces are conveyed to our larger American allies to maximise the prospects for success?

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Geoff Hoon): I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman's tribute to British forces. They have done a tremendous job in Iraq, as he rightly indicates, as they have in similar earlier operations. They take every opportunity to pass on their experience and expertise to other members of the coalition operating in Iraq, and that includes American forces.

However, I emphasise that there are aspects of the expertise gained by American forces in other parts of Iraq, such as around Baghdad, where the situation has been a good deal more dangerous than it has been in and around Basra, that are passed back. British forces have paid tribute to the experience of their American colleagues and have learned something from them as well.]