BRITAIN’S decision to send its troops to Afghanistan was strongly defended by a former Foreign Secretary in a Solihull speech last Friday.
On the very day a sudden surge in casualties was reported, Lord Hurd of Westwell argued deployment of UK forces had become necessary because of the danger posed by international terrorism.
Afghanistan was a training ground for terrorists like those responsible for the New York attacks, he said. “We went into Afghanistan for good reason, unlike Iraq.”
Lord Hurd was highly critical of former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, over the Iraq conflict. “Blair didn’t understand war,” he declared.
“But Churchill did. He knew about war, and sending people to kill, or be killed. Blair didn’t have the faintest idea.”
Lord Hurd was speaking at the annual dinner, held by Meriden Conservative Association, to honour the memory of Sir Winston Churchill.
As Douglas Hurd, he had held senior posts in the Thatcher and Major Governments, including Home Secretary, and from 1989-95 was Foreign Secretary.
In a wide-ranging speech, Lord Hurd also hit out at the number of Labour Government reshuffles, saying ministers were not being given enough time to make their mark.
“There have been eight prisons ministers in nine years,” he complained.
He added: “We need a smaller Government in terms of ministers and their advisers, and the use of much simpler language, not Whitehall jargon.”
Turning to the forthcoming General Election, Lord Hurd told Conservative supporters that the party must win marginal seats like Solihull, to secure the majority it wants. The next Government had “a hell of a job ahead of it” in this climate, he said.