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Why I will vote to recognise Palestine


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On 21 July, I wrote of the conflict over Gaza: As we have recoiled from the violence committed by both sides, too little attention has been paid to the reality of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, their development over the years and their consequences for Palestinians. The progression of those settlements has left the Palestinian people in a state of despair. The election of Hamas appears to be one result. A hopeful future must be found instead. As William Hague […]

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The capacity of the Royal Air Force


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Much of Friday’s debate took for granted the Royal Air Force’s capacity to deliver substantial air power. We are to understand the operation in Iraq could last for years. In 1991, at the time of our first Gulf War, the RAF had exactly 30 front-line fast jet squadrons. Today, we have seven. Of those seven, four are Typhoon squadrons. They do not yet have the necessary Stormshadow, Brimstone or RAPTOR capabilities. The other three squadrons – II(AC), IX(B) and 31 – are equipped with […]

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On declining to support action in Iraq


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ISIL is a brutal tyranny founded on a narrow and perverted interpretation of Islam together with unyielding violent religious intolerance. Muslims in Wycombe have with one voice condemned ISIL. Resisting ISIL with lethal force is a just and essential cause. We have been asked to set aside the mistakes of the past. Sectarianism, intolerance and entrenched interest appear to have prevented the emergence of open liberal democracies across the Middle East and North Africa. Those factors are apparently still in place. […]

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Kashmir Westminster Hall Debate


Yesterday I attended a Westminster Hall debate on Kashmir. The full Hansard transcript of proceedings can be found here. I made the following remarks; Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): Three foreign policy issues are of acute interest to my constituents: Israel and Palestine, Sri Lanka and Kashmir. Members will have spotted that all three have something in common, which is, of course, the legacy of the British Empire. I very much welcome this debate, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Bradford East (Mr […]

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On green belt protection


In DCLG questions this week: Charlie Elphicke (Dover) (Con): Will the Minister confirm that the national planning policy framework has provisions that protect the green belt from developers and people like the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) who would like to build all over it? Brandon Lewis: My hon. Friend is right, and I intend soon to issue additional guidance to reiterate the protection that the national planning policy framework provides to the green belt and other designated areas. That will make […]

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