DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – IRAQ & ABUSE REPORTS – 17 May 2004

Dr Julian Lewis: It is surely unacceptable for the Secretary of State to try to use his officials as a bombproof shelter for him and his fellow Ministers. Is it not a fact that anybody with any appreciation of the situation in Iraq must know that the worst thing for coalition aims is that abuses of this sort rally the population behind the insurgents? It should have been blindingly obvious that those reports should have been at the top of the Secretary of State's agenda; and his failure, and that of his colleagues, to treat them with due gravity is partly responsible for the fact that, having won a military campaign, we are now losing the political settlement afterwards.