Look to your own party

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In her latest column, Sunderland Labour MP Bridget Phillipson complains about what she claims is the Government’s poor treatment of veterans.

It is a pity Ms Phillipson has not scrutinised the treatment of service personnel by Labour’s Messrs Blair and Brown.

I draw her attention to the recently published Chilcot Report.

The Iraq Inquiry report highlights a series of blunders made by Mr Blair, his ministers and senior military leaders that led to destruction on a huge scale: in all more than 200 Britons lost their lives and thousands more were wounded while at least 150,000 Iraqis, and probably more, died.

Troops on the ground had been badly let down, Sir John concluded, and that it took at least three years to identify and order medium-armoured patrol vehicles to replace out-of-date, unprotected Snatch Land Rovers.

In total, 47 British soldiers died in IED explosions.

It wasn’t the only equipment failing but it was the most glaring.

There was also a lack of helicopter support with military leaders unsure whether to use helicopters to move troops around or use them for surveillance missions.

So rapid was the deployment and so under-prepared were the Armed Forces that initially there was even a shortage of desert uniform and boots.

Major General Graham Binns, a commander in Basra, told the inquiry: “There were soldiers who didn’t have desert combats, you know, we were asking them to go to war incorrectly dressed. Soldiers families complained about having to supply their sons and daughters with desert boots.”

Keith O’Brien