James Sunderland seeks reassurance that British forces in Mali will be operating with sufficient mass, force protection and an effective reserve to deal with a potent insurgency.
It is not, of course, for MPs to dig into the tactical weeds of military deployments, but given the vast lines of communication in Mali can the Minister please assure the House that British forces will be operating with sufficient mass, force protection and an effective reserve to deal with a potent insurgency?
There speaketh a voice of great experience. My hon. Friend’s caution is well noted. He will be reassured to know that, as I said in my statement, we will start with the first rotation focusing on understanding the ground immediately around Gao. As we develop that understanding, grow in confidence and develop our in-country ability to support ourselves at greater range, then we will expand the mission as the UN mission commander requires.