Gordon Brown promised to go to Parliament to make any announcement on troop withdrawals.  But today he’s in Iraq announcing that 1,000 of "our boys" will be home for Christmas.

Liam Fox has accused the Prime Minister of using our troops as a "political football":

"A week ago Gordon Brown gave only around a minute of his 67 minute speech to the issues of Iraq, Afghanistan and our Armed Forces combined; but today he is happy to use our Armed Forces for a pre-election photo opportunity. Most people will see this cynicism for what it is. Our troops should not be used as a political football."

I’ve also learnt that no newspaper journalists were permitted to travel to Iraq with Mr Brown – only PA and television cameras.  That’s all Mr Brown is interested in – television pictures.  He wants to avoid the scrutiny and background reporting of print journalists.

Newspapers are afraid to complain about these exclusions as they fear they’ll lose access as a result.  They need to come together and expose this typically Brown-behaviour.  I fear they won’t.

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