Chair of Defence Select Committee Julian Lewis blasted the ex-Prime Minister's military decisions weeks after rumours he's up for NATO Secretary General
By Steve Hawkes, Deputy Political Editor
Sun – 16 January 2017
David Cameron’s cuts to Armed Forces and intervention in Libya should rule him out of the top job at NATO – a senior Tory has claimed. Julian Lewis MP added the ex-PM’s incendiary claim Brexit could trigger World War Three also meant he was not the right man for the job.
The MP – chair of the powerful Commons Defence Select Committee – said:
“David Cameron is a man of charm and ability.
“But those talents do not include wisely judging strategic issues.”
The comments come just weeks after claims David Cameron was being lined up as a future NATO Secretary General. One unnamed Minister before the New Year said:
“We’ve got to find a role for him – he has so much to offer.”
But in a speech as part of the Speaker’s Lecture series, Mr Lewis said the story was “obviously planted”.
MPs on a separate cross-party committee last September issued a scathing verdict on David Cameron’s bungled air war in Libya. The Foreign Affairs Committee said the “ill-conceived intervention” had opened up a new terror training base for twisted IS fanatics on the shores of the Med. And it heaped blame on Mr Cameron for personally pushing through the decision five years ago against the warnings of military chiefs.
Mr Lewis said:
“David Cameron 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.”
Separately, Mr Lewis renewed his attack over the ‘witch-hunt’ of former soliders in Northern Ireland. And he once more called for reforms to stop troops facing prosecutions over action during the Troubles. He said 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,”