No Iraq inquiry until troops home, says Harman

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Indy Politics

Tories today renewed their demand for a full inquiry into the Iraq war as the Prime Minister said UK forces will leave the country by the end of July next year.

Gordon Brown was absent for the final Prime Minister's question time of the year but is due to make a statement to MPs tomorrow on the withdrawal of troops after his visit to Iraq today.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague saluted the work of British forces in Iraq, pointing out they will have been there for longer than six years - a "deployment longer than the entire second world war".

But he added: "As we welcome the end of this deployment isn't it now finally time for the Government to establish what the whole nation expects to see - a full scale, independent inquiry, into the origins and conduct of the war."

Commons leader Harriet Harman backed Mr Hague's praise for the work of British troops.

"We've had a number of inquiries into Iraq and the Prime Minister has said there will be no further inquiries until our troops are all returning home."

Mr Hague said the troops were now going to be returning home. "The Government has delayed for years the establishment of an inquiry and now the learning of lessons that may be relevant to Afghanistan and elsewhere can no longer be delayed."

Ms Harman said there was no delay. "We have made clear that while our troops are still in Iraq, which they are, doing their duties, that we will not have a full inquiry on how they went in until after they return.

"We have to respect the fact that our fighting forces are still in Iraq. There is no delay."