MP 'disappointed' to not be selected to speak in Commons Afghanistan debate

Clive Lewis Afghan patrol.

Clive Lewis Afghan patrol. - Credit: Sgt Dan Harmer

Norwich MP Clive Lewis has expressed his disappointment after not being selected to speak in the House of Commons debate on Afghanistan despite having served in the conflict.

Norwich South MP Mr Lewis served in Afghanistan in 2009 with the British Army, and called those he served with "good and decent men and women" who "paid physically and mentally for their efforts".

The MP said on Twitter that he felt disappointed he had not been called to talk in the government debate on Wednesday, August 18 and that he believed his perspective would have been '"useful".

Mr Lewis spoke of troops witnessing "first-hand the human toll", and in particular an Afghan boy and his father he met. The teenager had recently had his foot shot off by NATO forces and was seeking medical treatment.

The Labour MP said the boy is "etched into my memory," a "human face of the suffering of so many".

He said the war still has an effect on locals, and said Brown University in America estimates that a quarter of a million people died as a direct result of the last 20 years of the conflict.

Mr Lewis spoke of his hope, upon deployment, to help rebuild Afghanistan, however, the country remains one of the poorest in the world, with the second-highest level of food insecurity in the world.

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He said 40pc of the population is without a job and 70pc lives below the poverty line. 

He touched on his previous uncertainty of the legitimacy of the conflict, wanting to believe the UK was there for the right reasons. 

Now, with "hundreds of thousands dead, a brutal Taliban regime and its ideology again in control, a broken country on the brink of starvation, and a refugee crisis", Mr Lewis says the UK failed the people of Afghanistan.

The MP said that the UK must face that we need to find other ways to solve issues, especially with the climate crisis worsening.

Mr Lewis is calling on the government to help those fleeing Afghanistan and seeking asylum by starting evacuations.