Anyway, I digress. Earlier this evening I got a text from Sky News telling me that the Chief of the Defence Staff had called for British troops to be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible. At first I thought it was a wind-up. But it wasn't. I cannot recall a precedent for this kind of public disavowal of Government policy by such a senior military officer and I'm not sure what the consequences will be. While it puts the Defence Secretary and PM in a difficult position, it also puts the Conservatives in a quandry.
Liam Fox's response tonight was odd in that its primary purpose seemed to be to point out that Tony Blair's authority is ebbing away. It also hinted that the Conservative position is to align itself to the Chief of Defence Staff. This is dangerous territory. Our troops are on a mission in Iraq and my head tells me they have to complete it. If they don't, and they are withdrawn, we are into comparisons with Suez, where our troops were sent home with their tails between their legs. They deserve better than that. Fifty years on, is history about to repeat itself?
I have just come off the phone to Peter Kilfoyle, Labour MP for Walton. I published Peter's book LEFT BEHIND some years ago and we got on like a house on fire. He's recovering from a quadruple heart bypass at the moment and hasn't touched a cigarette for four months. Anyone who knows him will tell you how remarkable that is. He hopes to be back in the Commons by the end of November and I can assure you he will be gracing the Doughty Street sofas too. But he's lost so much weight, he might not need a sofa now. Get well soon, Peter.