TWO soldiers killed in Afghanistan yesterday died to protect the reputations of “cowardly ministers”, a Labour MP claimed in the Commons today.
Paul Flynn, who last month was kicked out of the Commons and suspended for calling Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and his ministers liars, said service personnel killed should be honoured.
Mr Flynn has repeatedly called for British troops to be brought home from Afghanistan ahead of the planned withdrawal in 2014.
Speaking during the business statement, the Newport West MP said: "The Canadian and Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan have returned to their own countries with their heads held high after large sacrifices in blood and treasure.
"Today we hear the dreadful news of two further deaths of British soldiers. There will be many tributes to them that will be sincere and heartfelt.
“But won't history judge their epitaph should be: they died to protect the reputation of cowardly ministers?”
Other MPs in the Commons urged Mr Flynn to withdraw the remark, but Speaker John Bercow made no intervention.
And replying for the Government, Leader of the House Andrew Lansley said: "I think we know that not only will we pay heartfelt tribute to service personnel, including those two who have tragically died in Afghanistan, but that the people of this country and this House will, I think, take the view they have died in defence of the interests of this country, they have died to protect this country.
“We are in Afghanistan in order to combat a terrorist threat and also, alongside that, to put in place in Afghanistan a sustainable and more democratic country for the future.
“That is why they are there, and I think we should honour and value the contribution service personnel make.”
Mr Flynn was “named” by Speaker Bercow in September for saying defence ministers were lying about the conflict in Afghanistan, resulting in a five-day suspension from the Commons.
The Labour MP defended his remarks, insisting "long running deception” had been carried out over Afghanistan.