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

I know that the hon. Gentleman has military experience and I say to him that this is a difficult issue. The motion sets out, as I have, the important caveats to taking a decision in advance of a deployment. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman has read the Constitution Committee's report, but if he refreshes his memory on it, he will see the interesting discussion of various conflicts in which we have been involved in which, in the main, we have had the opportunity to consider the matter in advance. Sometimes that has not been the case, but it is significant that it has been the case quite frequently. If we go back through the last 100 years, we see that there has been a build up to every military action that I can think of, and it has been the British Government's decision—to which Parliament consented in one way or another—that has led to the war. I include the second world war, which, yes, turned out to be an existential war involving this country, but the declaration of war was made by us against Hitler, not by Hitler against us.