Armed Conflict (Parliamentary Approval)

Part of Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 15th May 2007.

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Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind Conservative, Kensington and Chelsea 4:58 pm, 15th May 2007

I think that hon. Members on both sides of the House accept that there will be circumstances in which a Government will have to go to war without getting the prior approval of the House, and in which retrospective legislation will need to be sought. Does the hon. Gentleman agree—I hope that the Government agree, too—that if retrospective approval is refused by the House, it is important that that should not de-legitimise the conflict that has taken place up to that time? That would put our armed forces in a very difficult situation and would be intolerable. The effect of a refusal of retrospective approval should only be to require the Government to withdraw from the conflict; it should not de-legitimise what has happened up to that point.