CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

‘CAMERON'S DEFENCE FAILURES MUST RULE HIM OUT OF NATO TOP , SAYS TORY MP’

By Sam Lister

Independent – 17 January 2017

David Cameron's military policy failures mean he must be ruled out of the running in the race to become the next NATO chief, the Tory chairman of the Defence Select Committee has said.

The former Prime Minister is a man of  “charm and ability” but lacks the wisdom to take on the role of NATO Secretary General, according to Julian Lewis. Mr Cameron has been tipped as a possible replacement for Jens Stoltenberg, whose term is due to end within the next two years. But Mr Lewis said Mr Cameron's military intervention in Libya, which MPs have since criticised for lacking a coherent strategy, as well as his decision to drastically cut troop numbers and claim that Brexit could put peace in Europe at risk, meant he was not the right man for the job. 

In a speech as part of the Speaker's Lecture series, Mr Lewis said: 

“During the Christmas recess, an obviously planted story appeared in a tabloid newspaper suggesting that our most recent former prime minister should be the UK's candidate as next NATO Secretary General. It was duly taken up by the wider media, with heavy hints suggesting that No 10 was actively considering the proposal.

"David Cameron is a man of charm and ability. He deserves to find a role commensurate with his talents, and I am sure that he will; but those talents do not include wisely judging strategic issues, whether when toppling Arab dictators in places like Libya, increasing military commitments whilst cutting the Armed Forces, predicting a Third World War in consequence of Brexit, or dangerously delaying the renewal of Trident for the sake of coalition politics – as he did.”

In an interview with The Times, Donald Trump branded NATO  “obsolete” but also said the military alliance was  “very important” to him. Mr Lewis warned that if the US turned away from the organisation, Europe would have  “little chance” of deterring non-nuclear threats. But he claimed the US President-elect was trying to strengthen the alliance by confronting the "free-riders" who failed to spend more than 2 per cent of GDP on defence.

Mr Lewis said: 

“It seems to me far more likely that, by confronting the 'free-riders' within the alliance, he actually aims to strengthen NATO by ensuring that all its members properly fund their armed forces in the future." 

Mr Lewis also renewed his calls for reforms to stop troops facing prosecutions over action during the Troubles, insisting any country that allowed legal aid to be used as a “weapon” against its own personnel had 

“surely taken leave of its senses”.

He called for a statute of limitations to cover incidents in Northern Ireland that took place before the Belfast Agreement to be introduced to restore 

“some semblance of justice and fairness”

to the process. Without protection, hundreds of veterans face court action while 

“amnestied terrorists - including mass murderers - freely walk the streets of Ulster”, 

he said.

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'DAVID CAMERON'S BID TO BE NATO BOSS DEALT HAMMER BLOW BY TORY MP

Julian Lewis rang alarm bells about the former Prime Minister's judgement on military matters.

By Ben Glaze

Mirror Online  – 16 January 2017 

David Cameron's hopes of becoming NATO chief were brutally slapped down by a senior Tory tonight. The former Prime Minister has been tipped to succeed former Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg as secretary general of the alliance.

But Julian Lewis, chairman of the cross-party Commons Defence Committee, blasted the potential appointment. He questioned the ex-Tory leader's judgement, pointing to the 2011 military action which helped topple Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi but was blamed for unleashing anarchy and paving the way for Islamic extremists.

Mr Lewis said: 

“David Cameron is a man of charm and ability. He deserves to find a role commensurate with his talents, and I am sure that he will.

“But those talents do not include wisely judging strategic issues, whether when toppling Arab dictators in places like Libya, increasing military commitments whilst cutting the armed forces, predicting a Third World War in consequence of Brexit, or dangerously delaying the renewal of Trident for the sake of Coalition politics - as he did.”

During the run-up to June's EU referendum, desperate Mr Cameron suggested quitting the bloc could jeopardise world peace. The claim was heavily mocked by pro- Brexit campaigners.

Delivering last night's Speaker's Lecture, Mr Lewis also stepped-up calls for a legal overhaul to stop veterans facing prosecutions over action during The Troubles. A country that allowed legal aid to be used as a "weapon” against its own troops had 

“surely taken leave of its senses”.

Incidents in Northern Ireland which took place before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement should be outside prosecutors' scope to restore 

“some semblance of justice and fairness”,

he said. Without protection, hundreds of veterans face court action while 

“amnestied terrorists - including mass murderers - freely walk the streets of Ulster”, 

Mr Lewis added.