Armed Conflict (Parliamentary Approval)

Part of Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:19 pm on 15th May 2007.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Chair, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal 4:19 pm, 15th May 2007

The right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks said that the matter we are discussing is not simple, and it is not. The question that Mr. Redwood asks illustrates its complexity The exact circumstances in which this House should in advance have the right to give, or not give, its approval of military conflict decisions must be very carefully considered. Let us look back at the circumstances of the five major wars in which we have been involved and which I just mentioned. Were this new procedure in place, in each case there should have been a debate on a substantive motion, usually in advance—although perhaps, for special reasons, in the case of the Gulf war in retrospect, and an issue might also have been raised in respect of Afghanistan in 2001 to do with our treaty obligations. However, because this is not a simple matter we shall enter into a process of active consideration and consultation to ensure that we get it right and that we do so in a flexible way.

At the time of the Falklands war, the then Government followed precedent, as others before and since have done. Before 2003—the Lords report draws attention to this—there had been only one occasion when the House had voted in advance on a substantive motion: in July 1950 on the Korean war. The motion was agreed without a vote—after, I say to the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks, the then Leader of the House had persuaded the then Leader of the Opposition to withdraw his motion. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman takes note of that.


stinky will
Posted on 18 May 2007 2:45 am (Report this annotation)

No mention of the endless aerial bombardment that iraq had to endure at the start of their dubious invasion, I might add that the americans had begun the bombardment before the uk troops had arrived,
so best not talk about it eh.