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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 3:39 pm, 10th September 2018

It is obviously too early to give an official response to the Committee’s report, but the hon. Gentleman and I know the circumstances well. There is absolutely nothing to stop a further inquiry by this House into the decisions that were made and why. Indeed, I can remember most of the arguments now. However, he is correct that Syria has demonstrated the consequences of non-intervention in a way that had not been made fully clear before. Many of the political arguments at the time were based on what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I remember the public—it was nine to one—telling Ministers and Members not to do anything.

We now know that there have been consequences of that non-intervention. I do not know what the right forum is to learn still more of that, and I am not sure about the process, but now that the potential damage from non-intervention is established fact, the hon. Gentleman is right that the House needs to consider the consequences of non-intervention as well as intervention. I should add of course that there has been intervention since 2013, just not by the United Kingdom and its allies.