Highlights of yesterday’s Commons response by David Cameron to the Prime Minister’s statement on a national security strategy:

What Tories welcome in the strategy: "We welcome the idea, which we have long supported, of a stand-by civilian capacity so that we can act quickly in fragile or failing states. We also support the idea of a cross-cutting manifesto for forces’ families. I set it out in my party conference speech two years ago, and I am glad that it is bearing fruit. We strongly back what the Prime Minister said about greater co-ordination of our effort in Helmand province. Anyone who has been there knows that that really is needed."

The need for a national security council to oversee proliferating threats: "The threats to our national security, from terrorism to climate change and energy security, have proliferated, and the Government must adapt to deal with them. That is why, in 2006, my party said that it was time not just for a national security strategy but for a national security council. Does the Prime Minister agree that a national security strategy will work only if it is put in place and carried out properly?"

Labour isn’t proposing a proper national security council:
"A proper national security council would have dedicated staff and
decision-making powers. It would be at the heart of Government, with
all the relevant Ministers, and it would be chaired by the Prime
Minister. We do not have that; we should have it.Can he explain how a
forum and an existing Cabinet committee can drive the implementation of
a national security strategy across all Departments? Are we not in
danger of having a talking shop and confusion?"

The need for joined-up foreign and domestic security policy: "The
Prime Minister talked about a single security budget, but will it
genuinely cover all the areas. For instance—and I have asked him about
this before—will the single security budget include special branch,
which is currently funded by separate forces? The United Kingdom must
retain the power, properly funded, to intervene abroad militarily when
necessary, as the strategy says, but we must understand that military
operations abroad have consequences for security at home. As the Joint
Intelligence Committee warned, our interventions in Iraq and
Afghanistan, which we supported, increase in the short term the threat
of terrorism domestically in the UK, yet we have to ask whether all the
necessary action was taken domestically at the time. It is clear that
the answer is no."

Labour isn’t protecting Britain from extremists:
"Why, despite Government statements to the contrary, has he still not
banned Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is clearly a gateway group that seeks to
poison young minds against our country and way of life? …Why, despite
rightly preventing the preacher of hate, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, from
entering Britain following our recommendation to do so, has he not
followed the lead of the Irish Government and excluded Ibrahim
Moussawi, a spokesman for the terrorist organisation, Hezbollah, who
recently conducted a speaking tour of the UK? Why has his Government
allowed public money to end up in the hands of extremist groups such as
the Muslim Brotherhood? Does he understand the damage done to our
reputation by the perception that the UK has allowed itself to become a
terrorist breeding ground and a threat to others? Why, despite the
urgent need to secure our borders, does he still refuse to create a
proper border police force with enforcement powers? What is holding him
back from those obvious and necessary measures?"

The need for an Iraq enquiry: "Does he not
think it is time to establish the promised inquiry into the conduct of
the Iraq war? To say that that cannot be done while our forces are
still in Basra is effectively to kick this into the very long grass,
and it flies in the face of the fact that the United States, for
instance, has held such inquiries. When he stands at the Dispatch Box,
will he answer that question and tell us when we will have that
inquiry, which, if we are to make a national security strategy work, is
clearly needed."


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