Friday 13 October 2006

Where is there any leadership in government on Iraq?

The extraordinary developments over the last 48 hours over Iraq beg the question "where is there any leadership in Government on Iraq?"

The views expressed by Sir Richard Dannatt, the army's chief of staff, confirmed again this morning on the BBC's Today programme, were clear calls for an exit strategy to be brought forward by the Government.

Nobody however, neither Blair nor Brown, is coming forward with anything new.

Instead we face the prospect of a lingering, directionless presence in a country which is obviously sinking into civil war with all the consequent loss of life and threat to our troops.

We need clear and firm leadership on this question now. This must involve the placing before Parliament next week of a planned exit strategy including a deadline for withdrawal, a direct approach to the United Nations for assistance and a convening of a European summit to bring our European partners back on side to assist Britain in extracting itself from this disastrous mess that is Iraq.