Foreign secretary Philip Hammond says we must not conclude military action is always wrong in the wake of the Chilcot report

 
James Nickerson
Follow James
Cobra Meet To Discuss Latest  IS Developments
Hammond is tipped to take over from chancellor Osborne (Source: Getty)

The UK will not shirk from its role in the world or become a pacifist in global affairs in the wake of the Chilcot report, foreign secretary Philip Hammond has said.

Speaking in the week after the Chilcot report was published, Hammond said many lessons had to be learnt, but that it would not stop the country from going to war if necessary in the future.

"We should not dismiss the importance of solidarity with our close friends the United States when our common security interests are threatened," Hammond told MPs during a parliamentary debate. "America is our principal ally and partner around the world."

Read more: Chilcot report - What are the key takes?

"That does not mean that we should blindly follow US foreign policy. Protecting and enhancing the special relationship in itself makes Britain safer. Secondly, it would be wrong to conclude we cannot trust the analysis and judgements of the UK intelligence community.

"Most importantly, we must not conclude military intervention in another country is always wrong. As NATO intervention in Kosovo, British intervention in Sierra Leone and the French-led intervention in Mali has shown, there are circumstances where it is absolutely right and appropriate to intervene.

"We must also acknowledge there have been times in our recent history when the international community should have intervened but did not, Srebrenica and Rwanda being the most prominent examples.

"Despite the risks of actions and the failures of the past, Britain must not and will not shrink from military action as a last resort when our security is threatened. Nor will it resile from its proper role on the world stage. Our commitment to the campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria is testament to that resolve."

Read more: Blair says he did not make commitment to US to go to war after "I will be with you, whatever" memo

Hammond also reiterated that the inquiry did not express a view on whether military action was legal.

The speech comes as Theresa May takes the reins of the Conservative Party and country, with a cabinet reshuffle widely anticipated to follow.

Hammond, who was formerly secretary of state for defence, is widely tipped to replace George Osborne as chancellor.

Related articles