In answer to my question earlier today, William Hague promised that there would be a debate or statement on Afghan withdrawal. It was suprisng there was no statement on earlier this week. Clearly membes do want to express their views.
Business of the House Questions - Thursday 30 October 2014
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): When can we debate early-day motions 409 to 435, which record and honour, and express our sorrow at the deaths of, the 453 of our brave soldiers killed in Afghanistan? Is it not time to initiate an inquiry into the Helmand incursion? In 2006, we were told that we were going in for three years in the hope that not a shot would be fired; at that time, only two British soldiers had been killed in combat. Should we not inquire into the matter, which was possibly the worst military blunder in our history since the charge of the Light Brigade?
Mr Hague: If we were to make a list of military blunders throughout history, it would be long and substantial before we came to anything in the last few years. I agree with the hon. Gentleman’s first point. The next step is for the House to have a debate or a statement from the Defence Secretary in the coming weeks, given our withdrawal from Afghanistan, about the sacrifices made and what has been achieved. Sometimes more has been achieved on some issues in Afghanistan than we sometimes get the credit for. There will be either a debate or a statement, and I will be following the matter up.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Questions – Thursday 30 October 2014
Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): How many badgers were killed in the recent pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset?
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Elizabeth Truss): Bovine tuberculosis is a terrible disease which threatens the future of our beef and dairy industries. We are pursuing a comprehensive strategy which includes improved cattle movement controls, vaccination in the edge areas, and culling badgers in areas where the disease is rife. We will publish all the data and the results of this year's culls once the quality assurance processes and the independent audit have been completed.
Paul Flynn: No answer, of course. Why are the Government so determined to carry on with this failed project, which is unpopular, ineffective, cruel, and bad science on the part of the nasty party?
Elizabeth Truss: Let us remember the situation that we inherited in 2010. Tthe last Government failed to take any action on this issue, and we ended up with the highest rates of bovine TB in Europe. Are Opposition Members proud of that record? Are they proud of the fact that the disease increased ninefold on their watch? As I have said, we are pursuing a comprehensive strategy which includes improved cattle movement controls, vaccination in the edge areas, and culling where the disease is rife.