I have spent most of my adult life working on, and in, interventions. I began as a junior diplomat with East Timor, served in the Balkans and in Iraq, then spent a few years in Afghanistan. But none of this made me feel I could predict the future of Libya as I entered Tripoli in August. There were echoes of Baghdad in the masked men holding on to truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns and shouting Allahu Akbar at an angry crowd outside the bank. Was this the prelude to a sudden flurry of looting, then, after a few months, sullen resentment, riots, roadside bombs and rockets falling into the foreign compounds? Would Libya, like the Iraq or Afghan interventions, eventually suck in billions of dollars, thousands of lives, and achieve little more than trauma, corruption and insecurity?

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On Ukraine’s War

Today I returned to Penrith from Ukraine. (Parliament is in recess, and I was following up a report, which our Defence Committee has just written on Russia, Ukraine and the Balkans). Yesterday, I had dinner in Kiev with two ex-Defence ministers, a pony-tailed karate instructor, and two veterans of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The […]

Rory hands Veterans Review over to Stephen Phillips

Due to my recent appointment as Chair of the Defence Select Committee the House of Commons Clerks have advised that I hand the review over to one of my colleagues. This is to avoid a conflict of interest and to allow the new lead to dedicate the time to the review that it deserves. Stephen […]

Britain in NATO

The UK and the US has promised to fight to defend Latvia or Estonia. That is exactly what it means to be part of NATO. It is an alliance in which ‘an attack on one is an attack on all.’ American and British soldiers could be sent to fight and die to defend a country […]

Thoughts and analysis on Putin

The US and Europe spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on Defence. Why? For the last ten or fifteen years, the answer has been that our militaries exist to ‘intervene’ – to end conflict, drive out terrorists, topple regimes, and build democratic states. NATO doctrine has focused on intervention (and stretched to Somali […]


Penrith and The Border MP Rory Stewart, who has represented the north Cumbrian constituency since May 2010, yesterday became the new Chairman of the Defence Select Committee, and is the first ever Member of Parliament to achieve a Chairmanship in their first term in Parliament. Rory moves from a place on the Foreign Affairs Select […]

Parliamentary Scrutiny and Foreign Intervention

This is a dangerous moment. For a dozen years, Britain over-intervened, spending tens of billions of pounds in Iraq and Afghanistan on missions that were often not only unwise, but also impossible. Now we risk the opposite mistake: pursuing a policy of inaction and isolation – lurching from over-confidence to despair. Military intervention can work […]

Commons Debate on the Rehabilitation of ex-service personnel

Transcript Rory Stewart (Penrith and The Border) (Con): I wish to speak to new clauses 2 and 3. As the hon. Member for Darlington (Jenny Chapman) has just pointed out, the Secretary of State has asked me to lead a review into these matters. I would like to pay huge tribute to the right hon. […]

Rory to lead veteran’s review

I have been asked to lead a Government review to look into the reasons why some of Britain’s veterans turn to a life of crime after they leave the armed forces. I will also be looking at the support provided for ex-service personnel convicted of criminal offences and given custodial or community sentences, and how […]

In Syria, the best solution is a negotiated peace

First published in The Sunday Telegraph, 8 September 2013:   Like hundreds of thousands of civilians, soldiers, contractors, UN and charity-staff, I have worked in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 20 years. I was in favour of the Prime Minister’s humanitarian motion on Syria, but against a deeper intervention. I find it […]


Why should chemical weapons have changed our response to Syria this week? After all for two years, Syria has been a place where we have felt both that we ought to intervene, and also simultaneously that we cannot intervene.  Hundreds of thousands have been killed, millions made refugees. The regime is backed by Hezbollah, Iran […]