FOREIGN AFFAIRS – TERRORISM IN BALI – 21 October 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: Hindsight may be wonderful, as was said earlier, but foresight is much better. Was it not blindingly obvious, after 11 September and the Government's rightly strong reaction to those events, that British citizens around the world would be in danger of assault? If so, why were no preparations made to have a team on standby to react in support of British citizens around the world when they were attacked?

[Jack Straw: The fact that there is a worldwide threat is not only obvious but made clear in all our travel advice. For example, travel advice, which was last updated before 12 October on 27 August, said about Indonesia:

"After the terrorist attacks in the US, there is a heightened terrorist threat to US and UK interests worldwide."

It goes on to give advice about a series of precautions.

We have been strengthening our consular and support arrangements since 11 September last year. Many were put in place quickly. For example, in the United Kingdom, the emergency consular department was established and operating fully by the small hours of 13 October. We may be able to do more here. Notwithstanding the difficulties of a remote location, where there was simply one British honorary consul on 11 October, not a full diplomatic staff, we must have more flexible arrangements that can respond more quickly to the possibility of atrocities.]