The former Tory MP has been taking the debate in a new direction
Former Tory MP and Afghanistan expert Rory Stewart dominated the media over the weekend, with his excoriating criticism of the precipitate withdrawal from that country.
He has also led the way in moving the political conversation on to what is likely to be its heated next stage: the volume of Afghan refugees, fleeing the new regime, who should be welcomed by Western nations.
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Commentators on the Left — many of whom have advocated leaving Afghanistan for years —are expressing almost universal horror at the effects of that policy. The number of refugees will offer a convenient channel for that guilt, and competition between countries will offer a way to pressurise the Government.
Refugees. Nothing else matters. Help the refugees. Get them to safety. Be as expensive in your categories as possible. Worry about the paperwork afterwards. Everything else is a distraction.
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) August 15, 2021
Canada has already announced it will accept 20,000 Afghan refugees. Will the Labour Party come out with a higher figure in the next couple of days?
As Parliament is recalled from holiday to debate the issue on Wednesday, expect the number of refugees that the UK commits to take to become a central political argument —it is now the only thing that British politicians have any agency over in this sad story.