British troops in Iraq will not leave the country when they over control of security in the remaining provinces to Iraqi forces, the Defence Minister Lord Drayson told the BBC's Politics Show on Sunday.
"If (Operation) Sinbad goes well, then we hope, it depends on conditions, but we hope in the Spring we will be able to hand over to the Iraq forces, but we will still need our troops to provide what we call operational over-arch", he said.
But Lord Drayson also confirmed that troops would not be used to help out US forces.
Asked whether if they had spare capacity they could support US troops in Baghdad, he said they "will only stay in Iraq when they have a real job to do."
They would stay in their barracks, providing support and training for Iraqi forces.
Commitment to troops
Lord Drayson also restated Tony Blair's commitment to provide whatever kit troops in Iraq and Afghanistan asked for.
He confirmed that all requests received through the chain of command had been fulfilled, and that General Lorimer, who will take over in Afghanistan in the spring, would also be given what he needs: "Yes, Brigadier Lorimer has been out, he's done his reconnaissance, he's now put in to the planning process, what it is he needs. He will be given what he needs."
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