Armed Conflict (Parliamentary Approval)

Part of Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:59 pm on 15th May 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nick Palmer Nick Palmer PPS (Malcolm Wicks, Minister of State), Department of Trade and Industry 6:59 pm, 15th May 2007

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. I am glad that he picked up on my word "routine". That is the point that I am making. Whereas Parliament should be automatically required to approve deployment and outbreak of war, I do not think that it should be automatically, by some standard mechanism, required to come back to the subject every three months or whatever the interval might be. In that case, the normal parliamentary process would take effect. If one of the political parties comes to the conclusion that a substantial change in strategy or even a complete withdrawal is needed, there are existing procedures in Parliament to allow that political party to raise the matter on one of its Supply days as a substantive motion.

We heard the hon. Member for Gainsborough and one or two others urge that we withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible—virtually immediately. It would be open to the Conservative Opposition to use a Supply day such as today to put forward not a motion in principle about war-making powers but a motion urging immediate withdrawal. They have not done so because, at this point, they do not think that it would be justified or in the interests of our troops or the country. As I understand it, the Liberal Democrats favour an early withdrawal, and it would be open to them to put forward a substantive motion on a Liberal Democrat Supply day. If the Government came to the conclusion that a change of strategy was needed, it would be open to them, in all sorts of ways, to come to Parliament to ask for such approval. However, it should not be an automatic process—the automatic element should relate only to the deployment of troops.