DEF080604 - No. 31

Session 2003-04, 8 June 2004

First Special Report: Chairman's Comments


First Special Report: Chairman's Comments

GOVERNMENT LEARNS THE LESSONS OF IRAQ

The Defence Committee today publishes the Government’s response to its Lessons of Iraq report. The response welcomes the Committee’s report (which was published on 16 March) and addresses each of the Committee’s 131 conclusions and recommendations.

Commenting on the Government Response, the Chairman of the Committee, Rt Hon Bruce George MP, said:

“I am pleased to be able to publish the Government’s Response to our very substantial report on operations in Iraq.

“An important theme running through our report was the experiences of service personnel during the operation. These ranged from issues such as shortages of personal equipment and inadequate accommodation, to the difficulties faced by Reservists because of very short call-up times and those faced by many personnel because of the conflicting demands of the firemen’s dispute.

“I am glad that the MoD now recognises that there were problems in these areas. The Armed Forces’ most valuable asset is its people, as Ministers repeatedly tell us. Our Report showed that there were many occasions where that priority was not translated into effective action. The Government’s response acknowledges those weaknesses and makes commitments to put them right, and I welcome that.”

“I am also heartened to see that the Government has accepted that they could have planned more effectively for post-conflict operations on a number of different levels. Our new inquiry into continuing operations in Iraq will allow us to consider some of these problems in more detail.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. The Response is published as the First Special Report from the Defence Committee (HC 635, 2003-04). The original Lessons of Iraq Report was published as the Third Report of session 2003-4, HC57.

2. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon Bruce George MP (Chairman), Mr Crispin Blunt MP, Mr James Cran MP, Mr David Crausby MP, Mike Gapes MP, Mr Mike Hancock CBE MP, Dai Havard MP, Mr Kevan Jones MP, Mr Frank Roy MP, Rachel Squire MP, Peter Viggers MP

3. News Release: 31

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Media Enquiries: Adele Brown, Tel 020 7219 0724 / 07711 155 722, email - [email protected]

Specific Committee Information:  Tel 020 7219 5745, email - [email protected]

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/defence_committee.cfm

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:  www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk