Thursday, September 29, 2022
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MP Stephen Metcalfe probes government over ISIL

STEPHEN Metcalfe, the MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock has sought in Parliament this week reassurances from the Government over measures being taken to tackle ISIL.

Addressing the Defence Secretary during Parliamentary Defence Questions, Stephen Metcalfe asked: “What steps his Department is taking to assist Iraqi forces in countering ISIL.”

The Secretary of Defence Michael Fallon replied: “We are making a major contribution to the coalition. We are conducting infantry training and have trained more than 1,000 Iraqis so far. We are leading on counter-improvised explosive device training and, subject to parliamentary approval, will gift 1,000 hand-held metal detectors. As of Sunday, we have conducted 152 air strikes in Iraq and deployed a range of aircraft to the region, including surveillance aircraft.”

Stephen Metcalfe then took the opportunity mention how the British Armed Forces have a noteworthy expertise in countering improvised explosive devices and that this should be put to use in the fight against ISIL.

Stephen asked: “One of the legacies of our time in Afghanistan is our expertise in tackling IEDs. Will my right hon. Friend tell the House when Britain will begin training Iraqi forces in this capability and what equipment—for example, electronic IED counter-measures such as those built by Selex ES in Basildon—will be made available so that they can better tackle ISIL?”

The Secretary of Defence, agreeing with Stephen, replied: “I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that question and can tell him that the counter-IED training will begin early next month. UK personnel are already engaged in Baghdad in course design at the coalition headquarters. In conjunction with the metal detector equipment we intend to supply, the training will allow about six Iraqi battalions to have an improved counter-IED capability, as well as creating smaller specialist counter-IED teams.”

Stephen Metcalfe later commented: “It is only right that the internationally respected expertise of our great British military men and women is put to effective use when tackling the global threat of ISIL.”

“I believe it is so important that I seek reassurances on behalf of my constituents in Basildon and Thurrock, to ensure that effective action is being taken to keep us safe.”

“I fully support the measures that the Government has taken and am glad to have received an update on the progress being made.”

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