Iraqi employees update; the Home Office (finally/almost) responds

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 5, 2007

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, September 5th, 2007
9:36 am and is filed
under It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!.

Well, the summer holidays are over, which means that the majority of MPs will now crawl, blinking and endearingly needy, to the surface.

Speak of the devil, here’s that updated reply to my letter of July 24 regarding the plight of Iraqi interpreters and similar support staff:

Dear Mr Ireland*,

Further to my last letter, I have received the enclosed reply from the Home Office about the plight of the Iraqi interpreters.

The Government has commissioned a review of their policy towards the interpreters; the Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence are
the members of the review group. The review will present its recommendations to Ministers in late September.

The Government are not prepared to pre-empt the review group at this stage.

Best wishes

Anne Milton
(28 August)

*Mr Ireland? Whatever happened to the chummy use of my first name? To add insult to injury, Ms Milton gets firsties from Tom McNulty on behalf of Meg Hillier @ the Home Office, who had this to say:

Dear Anne,

Thank you for your letter to Liam Byrne of 24 July enclosing an e-mail from Mr Tim Ireland who asks us to grant asylum in the United Kingdom to locally engaged staff who have helped the British Forces in Iraq. I have been asked to reply.

We are extremely grateful for the service of locally employed staff in Iraq and take their security very seriously. We recognise that there are concerns about the safety of locally employed staff. We keep all such issues under review and we will now look again at the assistance we provide. The total number of Iraqis who have worked for us since 2003 with a claim to assistance could be at least 15,000. We therefore need to consider the options carefully in this genuinely complex area.

The Prime Minister has commissioned a trilateral Ministerial review to consider the options. The Home Office, Ministry of Defence and Foreign & Commonwealth Office are the members of the review group, which will present recommendations to Ministers in late September. At this stage it would not be appropriate to pre-empt the recommendations. I hope this reassures you that we are taking seriously the issues that have been raised surrounding locally employed staff working for the UK in Iraq.

pp Meg Hillier
(22 August)


I’m not sure how I feel about being lectured on how complex this issue is after years of having this shit shovelled in my face.

What’s that, you say? Matters past? Only in America?

Sorry, but as Garry points out, they’re still shovelling with gusto here in the UK.

This letter is further steaming evidence of it. Looking beyond the Big Scary Number (been there) to the crux of the letter; they feel it to be inappropriate to pre-empt recommendations that should have been made and considered long before a major military withdrawal.

I really hope I’m wrong, but I fear Basra has just enjoyed, or is about to enjoy, a Night of the Long Drill Bits.

(PS – I am genuinely disappointed that Bush hasn’t joined in with the Basra-related Brown-bashing; I had a nifty strapline ready to roll should Karl Rove’s replacement find himself struggling for something suitably banal for the surge-hungry; “You don’t back down after a crack-down!”)

If you would like to help with the Iraqi employees campaign, try the following list (nabbed and adapted from Justin):

– Watch and share the video.
Write to your MP. Ask them to refer your concerns to the Home Office, Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence.
– Blog your letter and the response(s) and let Justin know about it.
– Join the list of supporters.
– If you think your MP might be sympathetic, visit their constituency surgery, explain the matter of the Iraqi employees, and ask if your MP would be willing to co-sponsor the meeting at Portcullis House in October.
– Spread the word via one of Unity’s lovely blog banners
– Keep up with latest on the Iraqi employees’ plight with Google News Alerts.
Sign the petition.

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