Poplar and Limehouse: Tory candidate admits Afghanistan doubts

By politics.co.uk staff

Britain may have been better off never going into the Afghanistan war, the Tory candidate for Poplar and Limehouse has said.

In an outspoken interview with politics.co.uk, Tim Archer admitted he harbours serious doubts about the UK presence in Afghanistan and that he would not have supported the war in 2001 if he’d known then what he knows now.

“I think my view of it would have been different to what it was at the time,” Mr Archer, a supporter of the war, said.

To read the full interview click here

The Conservative candidate cited the “long-term damaging impact that it has had on some relations between the west and some of the rest of the world” as one of his reason for being uncomfortable with the conflict.

“Therefore I think the ‘against’ have outweighed what we tried to achieve.”

But the candidate, who is fighting a constituency with a substantial Bangladeshi Muslim community, said he did not believe the UK should unilaterally withdraw from Afghanistan.

“I find Afghanistan the biggest muddle going,” he said.

“We are where we are and whilst a part of me says we should just pull out immediately, my fear is that we would leave a bigger mess than was there in the first place. The temptation is to say, pull everyone out, but actually I’m not convinced that’s the right thing to do.”

The views are considerably more critical than those expressed by the Conservative front bench. The party has attacked Gordon Brown over supplies for British troops and the way it is ‘selling’ the war back home, but the Conservatives supported the decision to go to war and have backed the government in its ongoing commitment to the conflict.