DEFENCE – IRAQ REDEPLOYMENT – 18 October 2004

Dr Julian Lewis: Does the Secretary of State accept that, from conflicts as diverse as Malaya in the 1950s to the Balkans in the 1990s, the British Army has both developed and implemented peacekeeping strategies that are superior to those of any other army in the world? Does he recall the dispute between the British and the Americans over the occupation of Pristina Airport and the way in which that was resolved? Does he therefore think that he should pay more attention to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Nicholas Soames) that, if the British are deployed in this way, it is vital that they have a key input into the counter-insurgency strategy that is followed?

[Geoff Hoon: As I made clear, the request is for British forces to participate in operations in a discrete and particular area of Iraq and therefore their position will be no different from the one that they are in today in conducting operations in the south of Iraq.]