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Defence aide Eric Joyce resigns

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 03 September 2009

Eric Joyce, ministerial aide to the defence secretary, announces his resignation in protest at the way UK forces and their families are being treated.

On a day when three more British dead from the Afghan war were buried, Eric Joyce has gone in protest at the treatment of UK forces and their families.

To read Joyce's resignation letter tonight, the conclusion is that without drastic action the Labour government cannot be trusted on defence.

He tells Mr Brown in his letter that it is no longer good enough to tell the British people that the war is being fought to keep our streets safer.

And he calls for a coherent strategy for reducing the UK's involvement in the war during the lifetime of the next parliament.

The former parliamentary private secretary to Bob Ainsworth goes on to demand a levelling with the British public on the true case for war in Afghanistan, together with a coherent and timed strategy for exit.
Coming from any other department such a resignation would matter less, but coming from the man at the elbow of the defence secretary it is potentially explosive.

Responding to Eric Joyce’s announcement, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said -

“Eric Joyce is, of course, entitled to his opinion and whilst we thank him for his service as a junior parliamentary aide, it is vital that we have a leadership team that is fully committed to our mission in Afghanistan. 

“The picture he paints is not one that I nor many people within the MoD recognise, whether military or civilian. Everyone in Defence, and the wider government, is fully committed to ensuring that our forces succeed in the operations on which they are engaged in Afghanistan, and that they have the necessary equipment and support to do the job. Our mission in Afghanistan is vital to our national security. We will not walk away from that responsibility”

The shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox, joins Jon Snow from Westminster.

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