Part of Department for International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:34 am on 28th January 2004.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development 11:34 am, 28th January 2004

The planning was for the worst possible outcome, and as the hon. Gentleman will be aware, the effort and money that DFID committed to that was to ensure that if the worst did come about, we were ready to deal with any humanitarian crisis. Thankfully, that proved not to be the case because the conflict was much less extensive in scale and shorter than people had anticipated, and since then we have rightly turned our attention to the improvement of essential services and infrastructure. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware because he can see the statistics, considerable progress has been made in recent months in improving the lives of ordinary Iraqis, which is fundamental not just to their own future but to the success of the political process in which we are also now engaged.