12:10pm Wednesday 13th June 2012
By David Deans
A GWENT MP is calling for a vote in Parliament on whether Britain should pull out of Afghanistan.
UK troops are currently planned to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, the same year as US combat forces, but Paul Flynn says they should come home sooner, and as quickly as possible.
The Newport West MP has written to the House of Commons’ backbench business committee, calling for a full-day debate, and says he has already won the backing of five MPs.
The news comes after the death of 27-year-old serviceman Cpl Michael John Thacker, formerly of Cwmbran, earlier this month, and the death of Newport’s Sapper Connor Ray, 21, in April.
Mr Flynn said that three servicemen from Wales had died in the last few months.
“There are others who come home broken in body and in mind as a result of their experience there,” said the MP.
“I think it’s wrong to risk anyone’s life for a day longer than is absolutely necessary.
“We should reflect the view, the very powerful view across the country, that the UK should act like an independent state and withdraw our troops like the Netherlands and Canada have done, rather than be tied to decisions in America,” he added.
The MP, who has campaigned against the Afghanistan war for many years, wants to see a vote on the independent withdrawal of all British combat troops to reflect “the overwhelming wishes of the public”.
Mr Flynn said around 70 to 80 per cent of the public are in support of withdrawing from Afghanistan as soon as possible, and that the issue had led to the election of George Galloway in Bradford. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, RESPECT MP Mr Galloway, Labour MP Ronnie Campbell, Tory MP John Baron and Liberal Democrat parliamentarian John Hemming are said to have given their backing to the call for a debate.
Mr Flynn is hoping the debate will take place in the next few weeks.
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