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Tunisian Operations

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 24 March 1943

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There is a Private Notice Question which I propose to call, but I understand that the Prime Minister wishes to make a short statement before I do so. That is not regular, but if the House agrees, I have no objection.

Thank you for the latitude you have given me, Sir. In the interests of the House, I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether he can make any statement on the operations in Tunisia?

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for asking me this Question. It is my duty to let the House and the country know that this great battle now proceeding in Tunisia has by no means reached its climax, and that very much hard fighting now lies before the British and the United States Forces. The latest information from the Mareth Front—later, that is, than that published in this morning's newspapers—shows that the Germans, by counter-attacks, have regained the greater part of the bridgehead which has been stormed, and that their main line of defence in that quarter is largely restored. I take occasion to make that statement as I do not wish hopes of an easy decision to be encouraged. On the other hand, I have good confidence in the final result.