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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 15, 2009 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT

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world labor ships will continue to protect oil platform on which iraq's exports depend and will continue to offer training to the iraqi army is part is a wider nato mission for do we will also offer training opportunities at sandhurst and elsewhere in the u.k. for the iraqi officers of high potential. .. british companies are now competing for further contract and roles was an parkinsons' discussing with the ministry of electricity proposals for a new power generation infrastructure
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where an additional $200 million. british funding will support lending to thousands of businesses a youth employment program should give training permanently to young basrawis to be rolled out as a result of success across the whole of iraq and we're supporting the iraqi transport ministry and the resumption of flights, the council working on a major education program and iraq identified as hers to minority students and it earlier contribution toward plan for 10,000 scholarships for iraqi students. mr. speaker, issues in the region still confront us. iran is an independent nation that deserves our respect and the aryan people are proud people who deserve democracy and that is why the regime must address the serious questions which are being asked about the conduct of the iranian elections. the way the regime responds to legitimate process will have implications for i ran's relationships with the rest of
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the world in the future. i think the house will also want to know the future prime minister netanyahu or for the first time he endorsed a to a state solution, and a born step toward but there remains a long road ahead of us. i am speaking to him later today to president importance of freezing settlements. so mr. speaker, with the last british troops about to return home now is the right time to ensure we have a proper process in place to learn the lessons of this complex and often controversial events of the last six years. i am announcing the establishment of an independent peer counselor committee of inquiry that will consider the time from summer 2001, the military operations in march 2003 and subsequent involvement in iraq right until the end of july this year. the inquiry is essential so that by learning lessons we will strengthen the health of our democracy, diplomacy and
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military. it will i stress be fully independent of government, the scope of the inquiry is unprecedented and covers an eight year time including the run-up to the conflict and the full time of conflict and reconstruction. the committee will have access to the fullest range of information including secret information. other rich investigation can have all papers and material so the inquiry can ask for any british document to come aboard and many citizens to appear, no british when this will be beyond the scope of the inquiry. and i'd ask members that the final report of the inquiry will be able to disclose all but the most sensitive information that is all information except that which is essential to the national security. it will receive the full cooperation of the government with access to all government papers and ability to call any witnesses with objective to learn the lessons from the events surrounding the conflict. it is on this basis i have
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except for the cameras secretaries advice that that franks inquiry is the best president. taking into account national security considerations as a the franks inquiry did. for example, what might damage to reduce our military capability in future evidence will be held in private and this way also evidence given by serving the former ministers and military officers and officials will i believe be as full and candid as possible. the committee will publish its findings and as full a form as possible and then debated in the house of commons and house of lords. it is in these debates as well as the report itself that we can draw fully upon the lessons learned and iraq. so while the format is the same as the franks inquiry we have gone further in the scope of the inquiry, no inquiry has looked as such a long time supposed to look in some much but while it looked only at the run-up to the falklands conflict the iraqi inquiry will look up and run up,
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the conflict itself and every construction so that we can learn lessons in each and every area. the inquiry will take into account evidence submitted to previous inquiries and i'm asking members to explain the scope with were two opposition leaders and the shares of the relevant parliamentary committees. in order that the committee is an objective and non-partisan as possible the membership will consist entirely of nonpartisan public figures is acknowledged to be experts have leaders in their fields, there'll be no representatives of political parties from any side of this house. mr. speaker, i can announce to the committee will be chaired by sir john chilcot, baroness usha prashar, sir roderick lyne, sir lawrence freedman and sir martin gilbert. all are or will become privy councilors. the committee will start work as soon as possible after the end of july given the complexity of the issues it will address i'm a vice will take a year read as i have made clear the primary
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objective of the committee will be to identify lessons learned. the committee will not said how to apportion blame are considered issues of civil or criminal liability. finally mr. speaker i am sure the whole house will join in paying should be to the courage and dedication of every one of our armed forces and also our civilian personnel who have served our country with such distinction in iraq over six years and will continue to do so in afghanistan on peacekeeping missions around the world. mr. speaker, at its peak in the course of 46,000 served tours of duty in support of operations in iraq, and totaled 120,000 men and women served over the time of the entire conflict. 179 britons died of a 222 were seriously or very seriously injured and we remember them all today. mr. speaker, i said my statement in december that the memorial wall in basra would be brought
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home. i cannot confirm it will form part of a new golf to be built at the national arboretum in staffordshire and just as it is right that we should pay to be to the memory of those who have fallen into the wounded, so in his right to get things for the safe return of our forces to show our gratitude to all those who have served and us as a nation to celebrate the enduring achievements of all our armed forces so i can also tell the house and autumn of this year service of thanksgiving and commemoration will be held in westminster abbey. mr. speaker, we salute our forces today through their work, the work of their american coalition comrades and that the iraqi security forces and supported by the courage and vision of those within iraq led by the prime minister maliki, iraq is emerging from the shadow of 30 years of brutal dictatorship and in conflict. today prime minister netanyahu and the government can work for a prosperous future and that they can do so is the old image
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to be two all who served and iraq to the skills, commitment and sheer professionalism to their great entering courage in conflict and there is a measurable contribution to reconstruction and peace and i commend this statement to the house. >> thank you mr. speaker. can enjoy in the prime minister and paying tribute to speak -- lt. paul mervis and pte. robert mclaren were killed in afghanistan. in the course of the iraq conflict 179 servicemen and women lost their lives, they came from all three services, the army to my navy and air force and also included one civilian. and, of course, it iraq, could cause great division in our politics, parliament and country the things we can all united over and their professionalism and bravery of our armed forces, the service that they gave to our country and the debt we owe it to all of those who lost their lives. can i start with some of the things we agree with this
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statement , yes, we agreed the need for a strong relationship between democratic iraq and britain, we absolutely agree about the need for a two-stage solution between israel and palestine and welcome what prime minister netanyahu said, we need answers about the conduct of those iranian elections but i want to focus my questions on the inquiry announced by the prime minister. we welcome the inquiry and have been calling for it for many months. but i have to say i am far from convinced the prime minister has gone right. the whole point of having a inquiry is got to be able to make their recommendations to go with the evidence leads to establish the full truth summation of the right lessons are learned and has got to do so in a way that builds public confidence. isn't there a danger with the prime minister has announced today will achieve those objectives? the membership looks quite limited, the terms of reference seem restrictive and the inquiry is a specifically task to make
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recommendations and and it will be held in public. so will the speed to answer questions about the following four areas? the timing, the membership, coverage and contents and the openness. first time in paris this inquiry should have started earlier, how can anyone argue that an inquiry starting six months ago would somehow have undermined british troops? in the the argument that you can have an inquiry all they are still in iraq has been blown away by the prime minister saying that some will, indeed, be saying they're even as the inquiry is under way. terms of how long the inquiry takes the franks inquiry reported in just six months and yet this is due to take surprise until july or august 2010. by delaying the start of the inquiry and by prolonging the publication until after the next election want everyone conclude this has been fixed to make sure the government avoids having to listen two any inconvenience truths?
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at the very least will this be to look at the possibility of an interim report early next year? second, the people conducting the inquiry -- what is required is a master of diplomatic military and political experience. we welcomed the diplomatic experience, there has to be a question of the military experience, no former chiefs of staff for people with as one of expertise but also is an unnecessary as the franks inquiry did to include senior politicians from all sides of the political divide to look at the political judgments? the inquiry needs to be seen to be truly independent and of an establishment stitch up so will he look at winding the membership in a way that we have suggested? third, the coverage in the content of the inquiry. yes, it is welcome and will cover the whole time in the run-up to the war as well as the conduct of the war but is it wrong to try and confine the inquiry to an arbitrary time? should now be free to pursue any
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points which it judges to be relevant? looking specifically at issue of terms of reference, is in its extraordinary the prime minister said it should try to avoid a apportioning blame, shouldn't the inquiry have the ability to apportion blame it placed mistake was made we need to make known who made them and why they remain. specifically on the inquiry, the prime minister was clear that it would have access to all british documents and british witnesses, does this mean it may not have access to documents from the usa or iraqi government even if they are kept in the british archives? that is an important question and one we did not answer. will they be free to invite foreign evidence to give evidence written and oral? on the issue of the scope of the inquiry, will he confirm it will cover relations with the u.s., use of intelligence information,
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function of the machinery of government, post-conflict planning and how dfid and fco work together? turning to the issue of openness and transparency, given this inquiry is not just of interest to us politicians but also to the public and to the families of servicemen and women who gave their lives should there be some proper public sessions? is in that what many will want and many would expect a part of the building of public confidence that is absolutely necessary? finally are the limitations of this inquiry reflected in the way the house of commons is being treated by the government over this issue? before beth franks inquiry and we're told this is a franks style inquiry, before the franks inquiry there was a proper debate on the terms of reference on inquiry on a substantial and motion and this time it is just a statement in a debate yet last wednesday the prime minister promised us a new era of parliamentary accountability and democratic renewal.
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what happens to that? and hasn't lasted a week. mr. speaker, a proper inquiry must include a range of members and many senior politicians, needs to have their freedom to range widely in to speak frankly and its terms of reference must be debated properly in a democracy like ours so when he stands up of a speech to put those failings right? >> mr. speaker, first of all i thank him for the comments he made about our soldiers who have died afghanistan. i am glad he also agrees what i said about iran and about the behavior of the iranian regime and the need for them to stop any balanced conducted against people protesting against the election result in a peaceful way and i also agree with him about the support he wants to give and i want to give to our troops and to take into account at all times particularly looking at this inquiry the wishes and the views that also the sensitivities of the families of people who died or were injured fighting in the
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rack. i have to say to him when i listen to what he has said almost all of the points he has raised are dealt with in both the scope, brad and depth of the inquiry and i think if i may say so the shadow foreign secretary spent a great time calling for a franks style inquiry and that is exactly what we have got. there are repeated and references to this data for a secretary and the leader of the opposition saying that what we actually what it was a franks style inquiry which is what we have got. first of all, as far as what he says is the restrictive nature of the franks inquiry i cannot mr. speaker think of an inquiry that has got a more comprehensive, wider and brodeur revisions in the inquiry i have announced so far from being restricted it covers eight years from 2001 to 2009. far from it be restricted it has access to any documents available and that will include
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foreign documents that are available in british archives and an interview any witnesses, british witnesses but witnesses said was to divide it necessary from abroad and so i don't think there is any fundamental disagreement between us on the nature of inquiry in scope and the fact is very comprehensive, indeed,. i have to remind him about the timing of this that the franks inquiry looked at events that were and only add to the run-up to the falklands war and incidentally mr. speaker it was announced in a written answer to the house of commons not an oral statement, so let me say as far as the franks inquiry is concerned, it dealt with the run-up to the falklands war. what this inquiry does is the with the run-up to the conflict, the conflict is out and all issues of reconstruction after the conflict. i cannot think of any set of events that can be excluded that are of importance. >> in the future of our relationship with iraq and it is
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hardly surprising that if we are doing within a year time we are dealing not just with the run-up to the war but the conflict itself and the aftermath of the conflict that the inquiry will take time to interview witnesses, take time to take evidence and its report, of course, will be detailed. i have said and i repeat this -- i have said the report should be as comprehensive as possible, given the issues of national security involved. and other words of the most sensitive of information should be something that is reported to the house of commons and the lessons we are going to learn from the iraq events are going to be learned notches from the investigation by from the debates that will take place in this house when we receive the full report from this inquiry. as for the membership, i think there is a difference between now and in the issues dealt with by the franks inquiry. for eight years we have had
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politicians commenting on iraq one way or another in this house and elsewhere and it seems to me that we would be better in these circumstances to draw on the professional and expert advice of people who have not been involved in the process of commenting on this over the last few years and that is why we have what i believe is a committee of people who can be regarded as both knowledgeable and expert in the field and i would really to pry the opposition to criticize the individuals named as people who are not capable of carrying out what i believe is important piece of work for which there are suited enriched they will do a good job. and i hope that people will recognize that there are respected in their own fields and have a great deal to offer in this inquiry. mr. speaker, the iraq events are controversial, they have led to heated debate in this house, led to heated debate across our country but it is possible for us to work together to learn the lessons of this inquiry and i do
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hope that this inquiry will not become the subject of partisan infighting. i hope that this inquiry to be done by a very respectable group of people who i think have great reputations throughout our country will get the support of as many people in this house as possible. >> i give condolences to the family and friends have a lt. paul mervis in pte. robert mclaren, who tragically lost their lives in afghanistan last week and a chorus join in the prime minister and ping to be two our brave servicemen and women who have served our country so courageously and iraq over the last six years and in particular to the 179 who have lost their lives. they and their families are in our thoughts today. i passionately believe we were wrong to in invading iraq but i'm second to none and my admiration for the dedication of
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our servicemen and women. everyone knows that the invasion of by iraq was the biggest foreign-policy mistakes this country has made in generations. the single most controversial decision taken by governments since suez. so i asked that the prime minister today is taking to compound that error, a painful for some of britain's sons and daughters by covering up the path that led to it. liberal democrats are calling to an inquiry to conduct of the iraq war for many years and i suppose we can be grateful that finally he succeeded to that demand but as so often he has taken a step in the interaction and missed the fundamental point. in a secret inquiry conducted by of grandees hand picked by the prime minister is not what britain needs. does the prime minister not understand the purpose of an inquiry? is not just to produce a set of
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conclusions but to allow the people of britain to come to terms with the mistake made in their name. i have met the families of the soldiers who lost their lives in iraq and just an hour ago and asked me to speak in their name and tell him that nothing short of a fully public inquiry held in the open will satisfy them. will this be to knock at least listen to what those grieving families needing? he says the inquiry has to be held in private to protect national security. in this to me suspiciously like he wants to protect his reputation and that of his predecessor instead. why else would he wanted to report after the general election when we could have at least interim reports before then? it is perfectly possible to have a limited number of sensitive sessions in camera retaining the fun of the principal but the vast bulk of the inquiry not just a few public secessions
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recommended by the conservatives should be open to all. i am grateful he has listened to my representations and extended to cover the fall origins of the war and to give full access to the documents and files it will need. but i'm disappointed he made such a feeble attempt to secure a consensus on a panel that will conduct the inquiry. the experience established by the one now being held in the netherlands shows the consensus can be secured only if the government conducts painstaking consultation over a prolonged time. why did the prime minister not even attempt that sort of constructive discussion with other party is? the government's mr. speaker and must not be allowed to close the book on this war as it opened its is the christine. last week he stood there and spoke eloquently about the need for more public accountability and transparency. this was his first test.
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he has failed, he has chosen secrecy instead. for six years we have watched our brave servicemen and women putting their lives on the line for a war we did not support and could not understand. to rebuild public trust the inquiry must be held in public. in well the prime minister even now reconsider, will he make this inquiry is a healing process for the nation or will he turn his back on the legitimate demands of the british people once again? >> [inaudible] -- nothing that anybody says today takes away from our concern about the needs of these families and our respect for them. i do want to answer an specific however about the inquiry itself. it is to learn the lessons of what has happened, the inquiry will cover the run-up to the
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war, the conflict itself and reconstruction after the conflict. i can think of no thing that can be broader than to cover the events leading up to the conflict itself and the reconstruction after its. it covers eight years of our history and will be a very detailed work that has to be done. the inquiry will be able to call any witness and call for any evidence, the repoire will then be published and debated in this house here it is exactly the way the franks inquiry went about its work and to be fair to him he disagrees with using ranks as a model of the opposition party have always wanted their ranks to be the model. i have to say however, that we have to take into account national security considerations and a half to take into account the capability and knowledge about our armed forces and our security services, the missions they are undergoing at the moment and take into account all so what serving officers went on
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to say to the inquiry and all these things i think you'd come to recognize involve a degree of confidentiality that doesn't make for an inquiry which is a public inquiry or all witnesses come and give evidence in public and the lesson, of course, of public inquiries is this, that they take many years because everybody who comes before a public inquiry wants to be represented by a lawyer as we know from others that are taking place at the moment, one of which has already taken eight years and not nearer to completion now than it was a year ago. i would also ask him to bear in mind that this will come back to this house itself. it is up to the inquiry to decide how long is going to take to do its work. and to think a comprehensive piece of work rather than piecemeal reports is the best way they can report to the house. they will decide how long and it's for them to do the work but to cover eight years of history and the most detailed way will i think he agrees to take some time. all witnesses and evidence can
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come before the inquiry. i hope you'll also agree on a reflection the names of those who have been selected and asked to take part in this inquiry and people of high reputation who can do a good job for this country. >> mr. speaker, as one who supported the iraq war i did so on human rights grounds. i saw no secret materials, have no private meetings, but i have a 30 year involvement with the iraqi opposition. i personally would want assurances from the inquiry as to why prior to the war this country failed to indict leading members of the iraqi regime when we have the legal evidence to enable us to do so? >> i am grateful for the work my honorable friend has done in iraq with the kurdish population. she is regarded very highly by all those when i go.
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>> particularly for the wishes protected the interests of the kurdish population in the country who otherwise under sadaam hussein were facing very difficult times and she is party to a binding that group together with the rest of the country to make for a stronger future. obviously the inquiry will look at events from 2001 onwards but, of course, of the inquiry bills necessary to look at behind that and before that they will do so. in. >> mr. speaker, as someone who supported the war and i have to say when still continues to believe that what was done at that time it will as history recalled turn not to be a cause for good and as stable iraq democratic iraq will be a force for good in the region. i must say to the prime minister, i hope that in that basis he will consider some slight adjustments to this welcome inquiry. one is that there could be a slightly wider membership to include some six military members and also get a little
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more cutting edge summit's senior politicians. i recommend the because i think the committee with out that eds will be a little less credible and further also because i believe there's only nothing to hide, that the reality is some of these hearings must be held in public and i urge the prime minister to think again about that. >> first of all, of the military personnel who aren't at a senior level and are either retired or serving officers will be in that position to give to this inquiry and it is important that there given the chance to do so and is important that they can speak frankly and that means the sessions would be better held in private than in public and i hope he will agree that the military voice will be listened to as we try to learn the lessons of this war. as far as foreign politicians are concerned, if you go back over the eight years there's not anybody in this house will probably has not commented in detail on the iraqi situation and i think it's better to look for people outside this house
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who can take an objective view of the circumstances and also our seniors politically impartial and i hope on reflection he will understand the difference between the membership of the franks inquiry and the membership of this inquiry is because of these reasons. as far as public sessions are concerned, look, the opposition called for a franks style inquiry and a perfectly well that it was held in private, the essence of franks inquiry was held in private and now people on the opposition a bench want to change their mind that is their right to do so but is completely inconsistent with what they said previously. >> thank you mr. speaker. i too welcome the removal of the brittle fascist regime of sadaam hussein and i think the iraqis are much better country today than could ever have been without continuing. i believe it will be importing however, that this inquiry should also look at the origins of the conflict which did not start


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