Stinging criticism from Sir John Mayor on Gordon Brown’s trip to Camp Bastion.
The Prime Minister flew to Camp Bastion after his appearance in the Chilcott Inquiry to thank some of the 4,000 UK troops who took part in Operation Moshtarak. Until David Cameron visited our troops in Afghanistan when he first became Tory Party Leader, Gordon Brown had never ever made such a visit.
Gordon Brown’s excuse to exonerate himself from blame regarding the fatalities caused by the Snatch Land Rovers was that it was not his job as Chancellor to order replacement vehicles, and the deaths were the responsibility of the generals who should have replaced those vehicles. However, Mr. Brown, somewhat contrarily, has now announced plans to deploy 200 new vehicles to replace the much criticised Snatch Land Rovers. You can’t have it both ways Gordon. Are you in a position to replace them or not? That’s a yes then. Pity you didn’t do it nine years ago.
In a speech last night, Sir John Major launched a stinging attack on the PM, claiming that his visit was cynically timed to co-incide with his appearance before the Chilcott Inquiry and the the forthcoming election. He accused Mr. Brown of carrying out “a political stunt”.
“Yesterday, the Prime Minister told the Chilcot Inquiry that our troops were given ‘everything they asked for’. Few people believe that, and within hours his word was challenged by senior officers who were in Iraq at the time, and by two former Chiefs of the Defence Staff.
“Less than 24 hours later – the Prime Minister arrives in Afghanistan with yet more promises of equipment that should have been available a long time ago. It has long been apparent that the UK forces in Afghanistan have been under-equipped for the task in hand.
“Nine years, and far too many fatalities later, the troops – and the families of those who have perished – could be forgiven for believing the Prime Minister’s visit is yet another political stunt.
“Of course, ministers should visit our troops. But to use them as a cynically-timed pre-election backdrop is profoundly unbecoming conduct for a Prime Minister.”
Update, 8th March: Various press reports today revealed that the original order for replacements for Snatch Land Rovers was for 400, not 200 vehicles. The military are now saying “What has happened to the missing 200 vehicles?” Gordon Brown needs to realise that the safety and welfare of our soldiers will always mean a million times more to the country than anything to do with Lord Ashcroft. He continues to bring up Lord Ashcroft in the House at every opportunity, proving how heartless and calculating he is.