Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Leader of the House – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 8th October 2007.

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Photo of Gordon Brown Gordon Brown The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party 3:30 pm, 8th October 2007

First of all, I do not accept my hon. Friend's figures. Secondly, the position of those who have served our armed forces, and put themselves at huge risk to do so while in the employment of our armed forces, is one that we ought to safeguard. Under the measures that I announced today, they will be able to apply for help outside Britain and will be able, in certain circumstances, either to go to another country with support from us, or to come to Britain. I accept that there are large numbers of Iraqis now outside Iraq, but one of the reasons why they are outside Iraq is that they need the security of a safe Iraq to come back to, and it is precisely for those reasons that we are building up the security forces of the Iraqis.

I think that it is often misunderstood that over the last year there has been a dramatic increase in the number of Iraqi security forces—both the armed forces and police—capable of managing their own security, and when the transfer of three provinces took place, it worked in a way that has been relatively calm. We believe that when we move to overwatch in Basra, there is a very good chance that we will have calmness as well, but we will work towards that, aiding the Iraqi security forces.