Military Situation in Iraq

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:35 pm on 9th September 2003.

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Photo of Eric Joyce Eric Joyce Labour, Falkirk West 3:35 pm, 9th September 2003

I hope that Mr. Walter will forgive me if I do not follow his general doom-mongering comments. We are fairly tight for time. I shall concentrate on what Mr. Jenkin said in his opening remarks. I listened with great interest to my hon. Friend Mr. Hood, who is no longer in the Chamber. He made a series of pertinent observations at the beginning of his speech. He said that the hon. Member for North Essex can usually be relied on to make a pretty good speech in debates such as this. I would not necessarily agree with everything that the hon. Gentleman says, but he can be relied upon usually to make a pretty good quality contribution. Yet today—many hon. Members in the Chamber, and perhaps some of my hon. Friends, might agree—the hon. Gentleman's speech seemed pretty thin. As the debate progressed I could not help noticing that the Opposition Benches emptied. That was followed by frenetic activity, with the Opposition Whip leaving the Chamber and getting a few Conservative Members to return to their places.

I could not help noticing also that Mrs. Spelman, who I understand is the Opposition's spokesperson on international development, was looking rather concerned. Perhaps she was wondering whether she could make any meaningful interventions in a debate on the military situation in Iraq.