Armed Forces

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:02 pm on 29th June 2006.

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Photo of Lord Inge Lord Inge Crossbench 3:02 pm, 29th June 2006

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this important debate, which I have found educational. I have been struck by the number of issues raised by many Members. I hope the Minister listened very carefully, as a common theme ran through them.

On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Owen, on the strategic direction of the war, I am not sure that I would want some great committee to be set up, but at least we should look at the strategic direction of the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The linkage between the two is enormously important. I did not agree with the noble Lord, Lord Dykes. I certainly did not intend to give the impression that there is a crisis in morale. I was saying that there are indications about federations and unions and that we need to listen to what is being said. The morale of the Armed Forces, despite the huge pressure on them, is fantastic. I am second to none in saying, "Thank you", to them for what they do.

I believe that the Minister will write to noble Lords about the Defence Procurement Agency and the reorganisation that has been taking place in the Defence Logistics Organisation. They are two very important parts to ensuring that our Armed Forces have the kit and logistic support that they deserve. Referring to what I said earlier, I have an idea about what we are trying to achieve in Afghanistan, but I am not clear how we shall achieve that. That discussion is still to take place.

The noble Lord, Lord Garden, talked about federations. My noble and gallant friend Lord Boyce asked me to ask the noble Lord whether those who have federations and unions have ever won. My final point is that adequate funding is the ghost that hangs over all that has been said. I thank noble Lords for taking part and I beg leave to withdraw the Motion for Papers.