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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brown is to blame, say Hoon

I watched Prime Minister's Question Time today from the BBC studios in Ty Hywel as part of the AM PM programme on BBC2. I was quite surprised that although some very relevant issues were raised, none of the opposition MPs tried to hold the Prime Minister to account for his role in withholding much needed funds from our troops in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Today's Independent reports on former Defence Minister, Geoff Hoon's evidence to the Chilcot inquiry that the Ministry of Defence had "asked for significantly more money than we eventually received" from the Treasury in July 2002, less than a year before the invasion. He added that spending cuts imposed on the military by Mr Brown had led to the shortage of helicopters experienced by British troops operating in Afghanistan.

Mr Hoon also revealed that Tony Blair had held him back from ordering crucial equipment. He said Mr Blair feared that the secret military planning would become public if orders were placed too early. Delays meant that troops were hindered by shortages of body armour, boots and desert uniforms:

In his evidence to the Iraq inquiry, Mr Hoon said that accounting changes introduced by Mr Brown six months after the invasion of Iraq had led to "difficult" spending cuts and a budget under "severe constraint". As a result, spending on helicopters was cut.

Troops in Afghanistan have had to rely on lightly armoured Snatch Land Rovers, putting them at greater risk from roadside bombs. "Had that budget been spent in the way that we thought we should spend it, then those helicopters would probably be coming into service any time now," Mr Hoon said.

Problems arose over funding the British operations in Iraq as the Treasury quibbled over providing the money needed for maintaining some new equipment and training troops to use it. "Once you acquire a piece of equipment it has to be supported and maintained – there has to be training," he said. "I think there were some discussions with the Treasury about whether the budget could be increased to allow for that maintenance and that was an area of difficulty."

This is devastating evidence and needs answers from the government and from Gordon Brown in particular.
I've been in Labour since 1963, but boy oh boy thats it, never again will i vote for this pretend socialist pile of crap.

When we put out troops in danger to keep silly secrets, or as brown seems to piss off Blair, thats enough for me.
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