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The Prime Minister: There are issues connected with extradition and the death penalty, which the hon. Gentleman knows that we are examining as part of the laws in relation to this, but in respect of bin Laden himself, I suspect that that is not a very serious consideration in this particular case.

Mr. George Howarth (Knowsley, North and Sefton, East): Does my right hon. Friend accept that the majority of people who voted in my constituency and elsewhere agree with the Leader of the Opposition's sentiments that

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the way in which matters have been conducted so far by our own Government, the United States Administration and our other allies has been indeed measured, and appropriately so? Does he further agree that as events unfold, whatever regime or whatever supervisory arrangements emerge in Afghanistan, it will have to be impressed on those involved that the pivotal role that Afghanistan has played for some decades now in the production and distribution of heroin right across the world will simply be unacceptable?

The Prime Minister: I agree entirely with what my hon. Friend has said. It is very important that we ensure that Afghanistan ceases to be the source of a significant amount of the heroin in the world and, not least, the 90 per cent. of heroin in this country that originates in Afghanistan. What is interesting is that if we look, for example, at Pakistan, there was a programme some years ago to change out of the production of heroin, which was successful, so it is not impossible for countries to engage in a process that frees them from dependence on this, and there are other, better and more productive uses to which the land can be put, but I agree with him entirely: that should be a principal objective of the supervisory arrangements afterwards.

Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy): The Prime Minister referred to the United Nations twice in his statement, both times in connection with humanitarian aid, which is, of course, most welcome, but may I respectfully remind him that, by invoking the self-defence provisions under article 51, there is a prerequisite that the matter should be referred immediately to the Security Council? I understand that the United States has already done so. May I ask the Prime Minister whether Her Majesty's Government have done so, and if so, is such action limited to action in one country alone?

The Prime Minister: We believe that such action is entirely justified under article 51 in self-defence. As the hon. Gentleman rightly says, the UN Security Council has agreed that it is right that action should be taken, and Britain, the United States of America and the other allies are acting in accordance with the UN resolution and international law.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): On that very point, is it the Law Officers' advice that the action is in line with the provisions of the United Nations charter?

The Prime Minister: Yes.

Derek Conway (Old Bexley and Sidcup): Does the Prime Minister accept that his personal conduct and praise for the patience of the American people will find widespread support both inside and outside the House? As, sadly, bin Laden is neither the first nor likely to be the last of his type, will the Prime Minister assure the House that we have learned the lessons of Saddam Hussein that evil does not understand the meaning of the word "probation" and that the war against terrorism does not stop at the caves of Afghanistan but has to be finished once and for all?

The Prime Minister: As I said in my statement, it is important that we realise that international terrorism and

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terrorism operating in this way are not confined to the al-Qaeda network. As I said at the outset, there are really two phases. The first is dealing with the al-Qaeda network and the Taliban regime who shield it in Afghanistan, and then we have to consider the other measures that are necessary to deal with terrorism throughout the world.

Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak): In meeting the objectives that the Prime Minister has laid down, the decision is not between action and inaction but between action that will be effective and that which could do more harm. Members last week called for the action to be measured, proportionate, targeted and in accordance with international law. Will the Prime Minister report back regularly to the House on compliance with those requirements?

The Prime Minister: Yes, of course we will. We want that action to be effective and it has, of course, got to be measured as well. We believe that the way that we have acted is measured and we believe that it will be effective. Of course I will report back to the House regularly.

Angela Watkinson (Upminster): I was one of the members of the British-American parliamentary group who were in Washington on 11 September. That visit has been well reported by other members of the group, but one aspect has not been mentioned. In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack, people gathered, much as they did in this country, wherever a television screen could be found, to watch events unfolding and it was very evident to me that it did not matter what the origin of those American people was. They were many and varied and it did not matter whether they were Irish, Hispanic, Afro-American or Italian. They all considered themselves to be American first, and that is a very important lesson for us to learn.

I have been very heartened by the letters that I have received from Asian and Muslim organisations in my constituency—

Mr. Speaker: Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Lady, but she must ask a question. However, I think that the Prime Minister will be able to answer her point.

The Prime Minister: I think that the sentiments that the hon. Lady expresses are the right sentiments, not just for America but for Britain also.

Linda Gilroy (Plymouth, Sutton): I thank the Prime Minister for the reason and resolve with which he is approaching these matters. Can he say anything more of the assessment that he has made of the number of terrorists who have been trained in the al-Qaeda network and about their capacity for atrocities comparable to the terrible events of 11 September?

The Prime Minister: What we know is that thousands have passed through the al-Qaeda network of terrorist training camps. The camps controlled by al-Qaeda are not the only terrorist camps in Afghanistan. Essentially, all over Afghanistan for the past decade people have been trained in acts of terrorism to export to various parts of the world. That is why our demand of the Taliban right from the very outset was that they not merely yielded up bin Laden and his associates and those people responsible

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for al-Qaeda, but that they closed down all those camps in Afghanistan and did so verifiably. I think it is important that we keep that in the forefront of our minds because some of these people have gone to different parts of the world committing acts of terrorism. They have been trained there, and the Taliban regime have used the self-same people as well in doing what they are doing. That is part of the interconnection between al-Qaeda and the Taliban. However, the answer is that literally thousands of people have passed through the camps, which is why it is important that we shut them down.

Mr. Henry Bellingham (North-West Norfolk): Will the Prime Minister join me in paying tribute to the professionalism of all those RAF men and women from Norfolk bases who have been deployed to the region? Further to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Norfolk (Mr. Simpson), will he look specifically at the concerns of the RAF regarding funding for equipment and training in peace time?

The Prime Minister: Of course I pay tribute to the RAF for the work that it does, which is magnificent. We shall certainly look at any issues raised in respect of funding, but I am assured by both the Defence Secretary and the Chancellor that the necessary resources are available.

Mr. Paul Marsden (Shrewsbury and Atcham): In my right hon. Friend's excellent speech last week at the Labour party conference he referred to the inalienable US citizens' rights enshrined in the US constitution. When will British citizens be given a written constitution so that Parliament, not a Prime Minister, authorises a declaration of war?

Hon. Members: Answer.

The Prime Minister: It may be better if I just thank my hon. Friend for his comments about the conference speech. His question is a topic for another day. However, we do have inalienable rights in this country, through both our legislation and our ordinary common law, and I personally greatly welcome them.

Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire): Will the Prime Minister, whose leadership has been exemplary so far, agree that it is absolutely crucial that the people of Muslim countries understand the aims and policies of the coalition? Will he see what can be done to encourage both the BBC World Service and the British Council to use all their resources to that end, and will he ensure that they are adequately resourced for that purpose?

The Prime Minister: We are increasing support to them, but the hon. Gentleman's point is very important indeed. It is important that we use every possible outlet—the BBC World Service is a very important outlet—to get across this message because huge disinformation goes on in certain parts of the Arab and Muslim world. People like bin Laden and apologists for terrorism do precisely that. I have noticed in the past few weeks, which is why I repeated those sentiments again today—we have repeated them time and again every time we have had this debate—when I was out in the region, people talking about western leaders all saying that this was about a fight for western values versus

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Islam, whereas that is not the case. We cannot repeat that often enough. All Members of Parliament have the ability to give interviews to make that point. It is extremely important. This is not unusual in modern conflicts—certainly not of this type—but correctness of information is a vital part of achieving the aims that we set ourselves.

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