Former Conservative defence secretary Liam Fox is entitled to his views that the drone strikes in Syria are “both legally and morally justified.”(Independent Voices, 10 September, http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/drone-strikes-in-syria-are-not-just-legally-but-morally-justified-10493619.html), although we might wish for some consideration of the legality of politically-directed execution, when judges cannot hand down such a sentence in the UK.
But some of us want more proof of the justification than the prime minister has so far given Parliament: the reason is prime ministers have form on misleading MPs to secure support for controversial foreign ventures, as Blair’s Iraq albatross testifies.
Indeed even Dr Fox concurs. In a Parliamentary speech he made six years ago in a debate on the Iraq War Inquiry (which has run deeply into the mud under Sir John Chilcot’s management), he noted the importance of “holding the Executive to account.”
He added robustly “We have heard a number of passionate speeches from hon. Members on both sides of the House, and one of the main charges that has been repeatedly made in this debate is that Tony Blair, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, deliberately misled the British people in order to take them into a war that they otherwise would not have supported—there can be no more serious charge.”
He ended observing “I walked into the Division Lobby after Tony Blair that night and said to him, “That was a very impressive speech. I hope you are right.” (Hansard, 25 March 2009 : Column 363)
Some self–reflection by Dr Fox is surely in order.