Situation in the Gulf

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee 5:06 pm, 22nd July 2019

Does the Foreign Secretary accept that the taking of hostages and the flouting of international law has been the signature strategy of Iran ever since the Islamic revolution in 1979? If he does accept that, was it not entirely predictable—and, indeed, predicted—that by impounding this Iranian ship, however legally justified that was, the consequence would be an attempt to retaliate by grabbing a British vessel? What consideration was given, before the original decision was taken, to the adequacy of the number of ships in the Gulf, either ours or those of our allies? What attempts were made to persuade vessels that had to navigate the strait that they should do so in small convoys, which would at least enable two, or at most three, frigates to protect a larger number of ships? Sailing independently and separately meant that one or more were bound to be seized.