An Open Letter from Menzies Campbell

You may be aware that today I led a debate in the House of Commons over the new Liberal Democrat strategy for bringing British troops home from Iraq by the end of October.

Given the lack of UK influence over coalition strategy, the deepening sectarian conflict, and the increasing antipathy of the Iraqi people to the coalition forces, the time has come for a controlled exit from Iraq.

It is clear that we have done all we can and that our presence in Iraq is now exacerbating the security situation there.

The process of withdrawal should begin in May and be completed by the end of October. It is time to go.

I cannot speak for the other party leaders but, for me, acknowledging British fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq at Prime Minister’s Time on Wednesdays is the bleakest moment of the week. It happens with chilling regularity.

Today the British public should have had the opportunity to hear all of the party leaders express their views on Britain’s future involvement in Iraq.

But the Prime Minister refused to attend the debate. He should have been there to speak for himself and the government on the substantive motion before the House.

These are serious matters, and they merit proper attention from all of our party leaders.