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MP Tom Tugendhat worked with 'murdered' Jo Cox on Iraq war report

By Kent Messenger reporter

MP Tom Tugendhat was working on a post-Chilcot report with Jo Cox shortly before her tragic death on June 16.

Writing in the Times the MP for Tonbridge and Malling says they both shared concerns "Britain was becoming more introspective and less engaged in the world."

He said: "Our starting point was that while Britain must learn the painful lessons of Iraq, we must not let the pendulum swing towards knee-jerk isolationism, ideological pacifism and doctrinal anti-interventionism.

MP Tom Tugendhat
MP Tom Tugendhat
MP Jo Cox was tragically killed in her constituency
MP Jo Cox was tragically killed in her constituency

“Not only would this be bad for our foreign policy and security in the long-term, but would also mean standing by in cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide.”

Jo Cox was the MP for Batley and Spen and died after being stabbed and shot. Local man Tommy Mair, 52, was arrested in connection with her death.

Mr Tugendhat, who was elected to office in 2015, won plaudits after he appeared on BBC’s Question Time.

In a moving and measured speech the former army officer said errors of the Blair administration highlighted in the Chilcot report had not surprised him and went on to deliver a scathing critique on senior commanders of the armed forces and foreign diplomats.

He told the audience: “There are many generals who should have realised that the strategy (in Iraq) was not working and stayed silent and, while it was not for me to judge the actions of politicians it’s absolutely the duty of generals and diplomats to look after the men and women who are executing the orders of Her Majesty’s government in the field.”

He won widespread praise for his words with many taking to Twitter to commend the speech:

The MP, who has served in the Afghan war and was awarded an MBE, was stationed in Iraq when war was announced in 2003. He told Question Time, which aired last night, he was "terrified" adding: “I remember looking at my unit and my friends wondering how the next few days, months would hold out.”

The panel also included Ian Hislop, George Galloway, Lord Falconer and Baroness Brinton.

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