Blair didn't ask right questions says Tory
BRITAIN needs a new partnership with the USA following the 'mess' in Iraq, says a top Tory peer.
Lord Hurd, speaking in Huddersfield, said: "We have lost the art of being a junior partner to America.
"Tony Blair did not put the right questions to George Bush before we went into Iraq.
"Margaret Thatcher would have asked the Americans what they planned after Saddam Hussein was overthrown.
"Tony Blair didn't ask the question. The arguments were not put."
Lord Hurd, who as Douglas Hurd was Foreign Secretary under Mrs Thatcher and John Major, said Britain would gradually withdraw from Iraq, with the Americans following next year.
"It was foolish to go in," he said. "We dealt with a brutal dictator and put in his place a brutal chaos.
"Far from being an example to the rest of the Middle East it will be a warning to them."
Lord Hurd denied that terrorist outrages like 9/11 and 7/7 had changed 'the whole nature of the world'.
But he said action was needed to deter young Muslims in the UK from embracing terrorism.
He added: "We need to persuade them that the prospects and life they have here are worth a dozen times more than going back to Pakistan, learning the way of violence and going on to practice it."
Lord Hurd, who also served as Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, was speaking to an audience of 80 business people at a lunch at the Galpharm Stadium yesterday.
The event was sponsored by the HSBC bank, accountancy firm Mazars and financial adviser support service SimplyBiz.
Lord Hurd spoke of the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies, adding that the USA now seemed to be at the peak of its power.
He went on: "Our children will live in a world where the surge in the economic tide in Asia will be hugely important."
Lord Hurd said old quarrels, such as disputes in Palestine and Kashmir still had "a lot of poison in them".
But the biggest issue was the debate about the Muslim view of the West and the argument between "those who think the West is wicked and has to be destroyed and those who mean to work with us".
Answering questions from the audience, Lord Hurd also offered advice to Gordon Brown, should he succeed Tony Blair as Prime Minister.
"Gordon should choose his ministers and leave them there," he said.
"One minister has held nine posts in 10 years. That's just foolish. No-one would run a business like that.
"I would also tell him not to introduce any more legislation. Westminster is on its 60th Home Office Bill of this Parliament. That can't be right.
"And as Gordon Brown is not a very good communicator he should only go on television when he has something to say."