Defence Committee

Session 2002-03

Press Notice No.37, 22 July 2003


VISIT TO  IRAQ

Seven members of the Defence Committee have just returned from a visit to Iraq.

The Committee visited:

  • British forces in southern Iraq, including 3 Division based at Basra International Airport, 19 Mechanised Brigade in  Basra and the logistics hub at Shaibah; and

  • The Coalition Provincial Authority, including Ambassador Bremer and Mr John Sawers in Baghdad and Ambassador Olsen in Basra.

Members joined British forces on patrols in central Basra and in Az Zubayr. They also visited the World Food Programme distribution centre in northern Basra.

The Committee was impressed by the progress which is being made in southern Iraq. British forces have been instrumental in this:

  • they are providing the law and order framework for civil and commercial normalization;

  • they are training and supporting the new Basra police force (Members visited Basra police station and saw the Iraqi police officers operating on the streets of the city);

  • through a programme of Quick Impact Projects, they have refurbished schools, hospitals, water supplies and other important infrastructure elements.

Electricity and water supplies in Basra are now better than they were before the conflict, but there is still a long way to go. The essential infrastructure has suffered from a lack of investment for the last 30 or more years. It cannot be put right in a matter of weeks.

With the support of the Coalition Provisional Authority, there are the beginnings of local  Iraqi governance in Basra. The Governor of Basra is a member of the new Iraq Governing Council in Baghdad.

The Members who took part in the visit and their contact details are as follows:-

Member

Constituency

Contact No.

Rt Hon Bruce George MP (Chairman) (Labour)

 (Walsall South)

Tel: 020 7219 4049 Mobile: 07802 215557

Mr James Cran, MP (Conservative)

 (Beverley and Holderness)

Constituency: 01964 542984

Mr David Crausby MP (Labour)

(Bolton North East)

Mobile: 07789 213750 Pager: 07644 004431

 Mr Gerald Howarth MP (Conservative)

 (Aldershot)

Pager: 07626 801659

Mr Kevan Jones MP (Labour)

 (Durham North)

Constituency: 0191 371 8834

Mr Frank Roy MP (Labour)

(Motherwell and Wishaw)

Constituency: 01698 303040

Rachel Squire MP (Labour)

 (Dunfermline West)

Tel: 020 7219 4005 Constituency: 01383 622889

Outline Programme:

Monday 14 July
Briefings with Major General Lamb and other officers of the Multi-National Division (South East) at Basra International Airport

Tuesday 15 July
Ambassador Ole Olsen, Coalition Provisional Authority, Basra

Visit 19 Mechanised Brigade in Basra and accompany UK forces on patrols in Basra and Az Zubayr

Wednesday 16 July
Visit UK National Support Element in Umm Qasr,  Az Zubayr and Shaibah

Thursday 17 July Baghdad: meetings with:

  • Ambassador Paul Bremer and Mr John Sawers, Coalition Provisional Authority

  • Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez, Commanding General, Combined Joint Task Force, and Major General Freddie Viggers, Senior British Military Representative

  • Major General Paul Eaton and Brigadier John Riley, New Iraqi Army

  • Major General Keith Dayton, Iraq Survey Group

  • Mr Christopher Segar, British Ambassador

  • Deputy Chief Constable Douglas Brand, Senior Mentor to the Chief of Baghdad Police