Cameron: This is a vital year in Afghanistan

By politics.co.uk staff

David Cameron has told the Commons that “this is the vital year” in Afghanistan, in his first Commons statement on the war as prime minister.

It came amid speculation he is planning to change strategy after the head of the armed forces, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, announced he was stepping down before the end of his term.

That move, combined with recent statement Mr David Cameron intended to overhaul his Afghanistan strategy.

But asked by Harriet Harman, acting Labour leader, whether any change in strategy would be forthcoming, he said that Labour’s approach to the war would continue with only minor alterations.

“There is great unity between Labour and the coalition benches,” Mr Cameron said.

But picking up on a theme of Liam Fox’s tenure as shadow and then government defence secretary, Mr Cameron said he wanted to simplify the message so that it was simply about “national security”.

“I do not pretend it will be easy,” the prime minister said.

“We must be ready for further casualties over the summer months as the so-called fighting season continues.”

Earlier today, defence secretary Liam Fox said the government would no “lose our nerve” in Afghanistan, despite economic and political pressures.