Brown faces challenge over Afghan plans

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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown is facing a backbench rebellion by Labour MPs who are demanding that an exit strategy for British troops in Afghanistan is announced by January.

Seventeen MPs, including nine Labour members, have taken the unusual step of tabling an amendment to the Queen's Speech to force a vote on the need for a timetable for handing over security to the Afghan army and police. It could be debated before a Commons vote on Thursday on last week's Queen's Speech, which set out the Government's proposed legislation for the final parliamentary session before the general election.

The amendment calls for a report to be presented to the Commons "setting out the Government's strategy and timetable for the transfer of full responsibility over internal security to the government of Afghanistan".

Frank Field, Labour's former welfare reform minister, said he was not asking for a firm timetable for the withdrawal of troops but a Commons debate and vote on the strategy in Afghanistan.

"This would strengthen the hand of the British Government. It cannot hold the line while President Obama decides on his strategy," he said.