Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lincs Tory MP attacks 'absolutely crazy' Tory leadership

Stamford and Grantham MP Quentin Davies says Tory Leader David Cameron was "absolutely crazy" to vote for an immediate inquiry into the Iraq war earlier this week.

The Lincolnshire MP is the first senior Conservative to openly attack his Party’s opportunist behaviour in the House of Commons.

Cameron instructed his MPs to support an unsuccessful motion by Scottish and Welsh nationalists calling for an inquiry to be held while British troops are still in action.

Quentin, former Tory defence spokesman, abstained from Tuesday's vote.

Thanks to Ridiculous Politics for picking on BBC Radio 4's Week in Westminster report

Quentin told the BBC he could not understand why anyone, especially his party, would vote for it. He said:
"I was quite incredulous when I heard we were going to vote for that [SNP/Plaid] resolution.

I didn't vote for it but most of the party did. [That] left me really quite amazed and I'm very sorry about that as a matter of fact.”
He said it would be unprecedented to hold an inquiry during a military campaign.

To have an open inquiry would be
"signalling to the enemy all your plans and all your weaknesses...That can't make any sense at all, and I think that soldiers serving out there in these very difficult conditions would have been just as amazed as I was."
He said the party should be careful to base its actions on "analysis of national interest" and not to give the "slightest sliver of suspicion" that it was playing "party politics with these serious issues".

But Mr Davies added the credibility of the party as an alternative government would be seriously damaged if it gave the impression of "cynically" shifting with the prevailing party political wind.

Another senior Conservative who was absent from the crucial vote - but who declined to be named - described Mr Cameron's decision as "intellectually and morally indefensible".

The MP suggested a number of Tory MPs were deliberately absent. And the BBC reported that there are suggestions that the issue has caused splits within Cameron’s cabinet.


Anonymous said...

Party divided over the Iraq war? Big shock(!). Of course Labour are TOTALLY united on this issue(.). In between talking about the Tories and the Republicans and other right wing groups, do you have anything else to say Phil?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr Davies - unprecedented to vote for an enquiry whilst soldiers are engaged in battle. I regret that political opportunism was more important and it was David Cameron's first major error. I cannot believe that the Conservative Party took this line. However, at least Mr Davies with a few other colleagues (Mates et al) were able to consider the wider issues by abstaining from the vote.

Michael - no party is united over Iraq and members of all political parties voted against the conflict. That is not the issue. The issue for me is that whilst troops are engaged - no parliamentary enquiry should take place. My understanding is that following every conflict, enquiries take place to learn lessons for the future. This will happen. I can understand the Lib Dems voting with the nationalists - they have been consistent throughout. However, the main opposition party that voted wholeheartedly (IDS) for the war can not do a u-turn regardless of how they dress it up. None of their arguments persuaded me that their actions were correct - even William Hague (the great orator) could not convince me This is not a right wing issue - it is common sense. Further this site does not pretend to be anything other than a labour blog. We all know that and I do not expect every contributor to be a supporter of the labour party. Whilst I am, I can still try and contribute to the debate rather than rant at the content. I keep my eye on many Tory blogs too!!

Anonymous said...

Is Quentin Davies saying that our soldiers are so sensitive that they will be put off their mission if parliament roasts Blair on Iraq?

In the real world, many troops would welcome such a move.

As for the army brass, they have made their feelings perfectly clear recently, perhaps more clearly than strictly they ought to have done.

Figleaves aside, we are heading for defeat in Iraq. This is uncomfortable, but it flows directly from the mistaken decision to invade. Our troops know this. Our enemies know this. What we need to know NOW is how these decisions came to be made against the instinct and the common sense of the great majority of British people.

Does this matter?

Yes, because some Labour ministers are reported willing to back the bigger calamity planned for Iran.

Anonymous said...

Without doubt there should be an inquiry into Iraq considering the two that have been held had their remits curtailed to prevent the questions needing answering getting asked.As you will see this week from watching the US political scene the letter due to be published on Tuesday from the head of the US Army,AirForce and Navy calling for the Secretary of States resignation (Rumsfeld) over Iraq is welcome.It makes me laugh looking at him glad handing Saddam as he shipped weapons from the US to Saddam so he could bomb the crap out of Iran and we are so sanctimonius that we think we can be judge,jury and hangman.The history of Iraq is this Governments legacy (well the one people will give them credit for)and hanging Saddam before Christmas so US can begin withdrawl early in 2007 is all our two governments care for.Iraq will go to hell in a handcart and global terrorism will grow at such a rate in the next 10 years that all of us will at some point either be or know someone affected.
I hope then the UN prosecutes both Bush and Blair in the International War Crimes Court for what they have done.
So the Conservatives have recognised what the public have known from the beginning - big deal - Labour have voted not to have the Inquiry and when the truth does come out the Conservatives will just say it was a Labour cover up.Cameron is playing a much smarter game than you imagine.He is out of the box whilst Labour think inside it.

fairdealphil said...

Michael: Of course, there are differences in both parties over Iraq. The point about last week is the point Quentin Davies made -Cameron's Tories were playing politics while are troops are in the line of fire.

If you still don't believe that Cameron was simply playing games, look back at his speech to the Foreign Policy Centre a few months ago:

David Cameron said: “As we discovered in the nineteen-thirties, a willingness to cede ground and duck confrontation is interpreted as fatal weakness.

"It can provide an incentive to escalate the struggle against a foe who clearly lacks the stomach for the fight.

"Indeed, in the 1990s the inaction of the West fed the belief among Osama bin Laden and his allies that we lacked the strength to defend ourselves… The lesson from all of this with respect to our presence in Iraq is clear.

"Premature withdrawal - and failure to support the Iraqi authority - would be seen as a surrender to militant Jihadism.

"Nothing would embolden the terrorists more.”

fairdealphil said...


In fact there have already been four, not two inquiries, to date into Iraq: 1. the Butler Report, 2, the Hutton Inquiry, 3. the intelligence and security committee, 4. the foreign affairs committee.

There are of course, lessons that must be learned after every conflict, but to call for a major Commons inquiry right now would, in my humble opinion, send a message of weakness to those who are trying to undermine Iraq's fledgling democracy.

fairdealphil said...


Don't blame the messenger - it's not me who says Cameron was crazy - it's one of his own MPs.

Anonymous said...

Phil: Thanks for replying twice to my post. I didn't actually say I agreed with Cameron on this. I agree with Davies and I think Cameron was playing a foolish game. The reason I blame the messenger in this case is that, as usual, this particular messenger only provided a biased 50 % of the story. If Blair had promised an inquiry after the war(which he owes to the relatives of the soldiers he is responsible for having killed), there would be none of this fuss. The Tories made the wrong response. I regret this. But Labour are playing the same game, using the presence of troops in Iraq as a pretext to avoid an inquiry. They are as bad as each other. Cameron is however entitled to ask questions of HOW the war has been conducted. Among other things, he has asked about how Blair and the Labour Party sent our troops into battle with dodgy equipment(despite repeated requests). He has also noted the PM's absence from ANY funerals of UK servicemen. The bottom line is that your party sent our men to die, and they will be dragged out of their corrupt office because of this. Good.

Factual correction for you Liz, there was an inquiry into the events of 1940 on continental Europe...and I seem to remember the war lasting through 1940. WWII wasn't it(?). Everyone knows the Tories were for the war Liz. Not really the point. No British soldiers have died on David Cameron's orders. You might think that it is unfair that Blair gets the blame when the Tories would have done the same, but that is just the way the cookie crumbles. Calling an opinion a rant just because you disagree with it indicates the vacuous nature of your rather dodgy argument.

Anonymous said...

Michael - you are right - I should not have used the word rant and I withdraw this comment. I thought the issue was about political parties changing their stance at a time when British troops were engaged, rather than "right wing groups". How can you condone David Cameron questioning how the war is being conducted whilst in the middle of the conflict? Am I wrong in thinking that party leaders and some parliamentary groups are kept abreast of issues anyway by regular intelligence briefings? I stand by my views regarding no parliamentary enquiry until troops have left Iraq. I have a vested interest in this - married to a military officer for many years and believe in following protocol. Your views on many issues - sending troops to die etc are not in accord with mine and yes I have lost many friends and relatives in war zones over the past 20 years. However, I and my "ilk" believe they died honourably and none have ever blamed any government in power for their deaths. We all accept commissions knowing that we can be called on to risk our lives. I also thought politicians relied on senior military figures on equipment required. Generals must take the blame if they permit troops to engage without proper equipment. They, like everybody else will use the media to try and wring more money out of the Treasury. I am sorry but I do not accept press reports or the families of serving soldiers views on such issues. If a general (who is aware of defence budgets) tells me he wanted equipment to safeguard life and it was refused by a politician then I would accept this. However, like everything else in this world equipment continues to improve and it takes time to procure. As well, we as a nation seem unprepared to commit a greater proportion of our wealth to defence - unlike the US. I have never, nor would I ever, call any "government" corrupt and I very much resent the present government being labelled in this way. Yes, a few individuals have made mistakes -but none have accepted money to ask questions, none have perjured themselves in court and none have gone to prison etc etc. These acts occurred under the last government by individuals.

fairdealphil said...


Yes, Blair sent troops into action. But there was a Commons debate followed by a vote on the issue in which the Conservative Party supported the war.

I of course agree that Cameron is entitled to ask questions - that's democracy.

fairdealphil said...


I see that you do accept that the Conservatives voted for the Iraq war - but still think Labour will be "dragged out of office" because of it.

Labour won its third General Election last year - while our troops were engaged.

Anonymous said...

Yes Phil and the war has been on the up and up since then. Why did you lie to the people? Yes the Tories voted for the war, based on the phoney intelligence that Blair refuses to investigate(hiding behind the brave men of the British Army). How many lives were lost as a result of David Cameron's actions. Or any Tories? And how many from the actions of Blair?

Liz your argument is all very well and good. I would just dispute one part of it. The words. There would be very little point in Cameron pointing out what is wrong with our conduct of the war when the troops have come home and the bodybags are forgotten about. You have either imagined or invented "protocol" if you think there is a precedent for there being no inquiry while troops are engaged in war. Of the top of my head, I can remember just such inquiries during the war with America, the Napoleonic Wars and WWII. The truth is that Blair is using their presence there to cover his own backside, and even most Labour voters know it. Hence they have shown him the door for next year.

I have a brother in the army. Last year he led a tour in Iraq. He was stupid enough to vote for this PM, but I suspect he won't trust this bunch of liars again. He joined up to defend the UK national interest. His PM lied and endangered the lives of these good men for this lie. I am sorry you don't respect their right to have a view, and I think you have misjudged the opinion of troops.

I can only laugh at your last comment. There isn't enough space to list all the misdeeds of this bunch of liars. Peerages have been bought, corrupt donations have been hushed up, criminals brought into the heart of Government, the only reason Blair's friends Levy asn't committed perjury is because he replies "no comment", and the only reason he hasn't been sent to jail yet is because it is pending! You must be proud to have voted for such a bunch of criminals and liars.

Anonymous said...

I could, if you wish go through all those sitting in the Lords who are not Bishops, Lord Justices, former politicians or heriditary peers. I could then determine those who contributed to the political party that nominated them. All parties do it.........