Earl of Michael Ancram (Shadow Secretary of State for International Affairs, Shadow Foreign Secretary & Deputy Leader, International Affairs; Devizes, Conservative)
Support for the war, however, does not and cannot entail placid acceptance of everything that has followed. That support cannot—nor should it, in a democratic Parliament—inhibit us from criticising the conduct and drift of the post-conflict programme.
Secondly, the Prime Minister hit rock bottom last week when he inferred that our criticism of him was a criticism of our armed forces. We have always made it abundantly clear that we not only support the effective and courageous manner in which our armed forces are carrying out their responsibilities in Iraq in the face of great difficulties and dangers, but are immensely proud of their professionalism and dedication.
The whole House will share my disgust at the malicious attempts in some quarters to damage the reputation of our armed forces in Iraq by making untrue or faked allegations that also endanger their lives. With the editor rightly gone, I hope that the Daily Mirror lessons have been well and truly learned. Of course, where there are serious and genuine allegations of abuse, those responsible must be rooted out and dealt with firmly and effectively. We can have no time for such people.