James Forsyth

Eric Joyce resigns as PPS to the Defence Secretary

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In a move that is sure to overshadow the Prime Minister’s speech on Afghanistan tomorrow, Eric Joyce, a former army office, has tonight resigned as PPS to the Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth. In his resignation letter, published on the Channel 4 website, Joyce says that the public would “appreciate more direct approach by politicians” to the Afghanistan question and that the public will not “accept for much longer that our losses can be justified by simply referring to the risk of greater terrorism on our streets.” Joyce also states that there must be a run off in the Afghan election if public support for the deployment there is to be maintained.

However, I suspect the parts of the letter that will grab headlines are his statements that Labour “cannot win unless we grip defence” and that “Behind the hand attacks by any Labour figure on senior service personnel are now, to the public, indistinguishable from attacks on the services themselves.”