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Report of the Iraq Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:51 pm on 6th July 2016.

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Photo of David Cameron David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 12:51 pm, 6th July 2016

My right hon. and learned Friend makes good points. Let me respond. In terms of Cabinet responsibility, yes, before a decision such as this is made we need to have a Cabinet meeting and Cabinet discussion, but I would not try to substitute that for the work that the NSC now does, in which the head of MI5, the head of MI6 and the Chief of the Defence Staff are around the table. They sit there as equal members able to speak up and tell us what they think. That debate is frankly more valuable than simply listening to other Secretaries of State, although they are there as well. I still think that that is the best place to do that.

Yes, we should have parliamentary debates and it is good if we have them in reasonable time. One of the issues with the Iraq debate was that it was so close to the point of decision that many colleagues felt that to vote in a different way was somehow to let down our troops on the eve of a vitally important decision. Early debate is always good.