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Parliamentary Aide Resigns From Government In Afghan Protest

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A parliamentary aide to the defence secretary has resigned, criticising the government's strategy in Afghanistan.

Labour MP Eric Joyce said the UK could no longer justify the growing casualty toll in Afghanistan by saying the war would prevent terrorism back home.

Mr Joyce, parliamentary private secretary to Bob Ainsworth, also said the government was failing to empathise sufficiently with the military.

Mr Ainsworth said he was "fully committed" to UK troops in Afghanistan.

In a statement, Mr Ainsworth said Mr Joyce was entitled to his opinion but he did not "recognise" the picture he painted of the situation in Afghanistan.

'Uncertainty'

The resignation comes on the day the Ministry of Defence announced the death of another soldier in Afghanistan, taking the number of service personnel killed there since operations began in 2001 to 212.

It also comes on the eve of a major speech by Gordon Brown on the UK's mission there and amid reports that the US is preparing to send more troops to the country.

In his resignation letter, Mr Joyce - MP for Falkirk - questioned public support for the mission in Afghanistan and the government's justification for the presence of troops there.

I do not think the public will accept for much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets

He also cast doubt on Labour's ability to win the next election unless it got a "grip on defence".

"I do not think the public will accept for much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets," he said.

"Nor do I think we can continue with the present level of uncertainty about the future of our deployment in Afghanistan."

Mr Joyce, a former soldier, said the UK must consider an exit strategy for its troops, arguing that personnel numbers should be cut substantially in the next Parliament.

There are currently more than 9,000 troops in Afghanistan.

"We need to make it clear that our commitment in Afghanistan is high but time limited."

Mr Joyce also criticised the contribution of other Nato countries in Afghanistan, arguing that the UK "punched a long way above its weight" while "many of our allies do far too little".

Gordon Brown has pledged more support for British troops

"For many, Britain fights, Germany pays, France calculates, Italy avoids," he said.

The political consensus in the UK over the Afghan mission has broken down in recent months with opposition parties questioning whether troops are sufficiently equipped to do the job asked of them in fighting the Taliban.

Critics have said they are being hampered by an acute shortage of helicopters but ministers says army chiefs have all the resources they have requested.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8237041.stm

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If I was Bob Ainsworth's gimp I think I'd resign too, unless I was an expert in severe learning difficulties and was up for a particularly tough challenge.

Sarcasm apart, I presume he's decided to gamble on keeping his seat at the election and then playing the moral high ground card when it comes to reconstructing the Labour hierarchy afterwards. I don't believe for one moment that any Labour MP is genuinely capable of acting on principle (except, just possibly, Frank Field).

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If I was Bob Ainsworth's gimp I think I'd resign too, unless I was an expert in severe learning difficulties and was up for a particularly tough challenge.

Sarcasm apart, I presume he's decided to gamble on keeping his seat at the election and then playing the moral high ground card when it comes to reconstructing the Labour hierarchy afterwards. I don't believe for one moment that any Labour MP is genuinely capable of acting on principle (except, just possibly, Frank Field).

Maybe the fact that Eric Joyce was a soldier formerly had something to do with it?

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One of Iain Dale's commenters has coined an excellent nickname for him:

Lord Hee Haw!

(Hee Haw means SFA in Scots for those from Englandshire).

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His expenses claims are so scandalous he'd do better to resign as an MP all together.

Also, I can't stand that Nulabour stubble. Blunkett, Charles Clarke, Harriet Harman - they've all got it. I suppose they think it makes them look 'working class' while they lord it over us and gorge themselves on taxpayer's money.

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Thank you for that link. Disgusting financial dealings.

I just looked at his voting record and he appears to be to the Right of Attilla the Hun, which means he should go down well with a lot of the hpc crowd.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/eric_joyce/falkirk_west

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Guest Parry aka GOD
This might not be the place to ask, but.... what is the hoff doing to that poor little Sharpei?

Those dogs stink. Seriously. A chinese friend had one back in 1990's. The cost of upkeep on the thing was huge. Their skin gets sore between those folds and the smell is ripe.

Ugly b@stard thing too.

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