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26 November 2002

No military action without House of Commons vote and UN mandate

Iraq Update

Commenting on the decision of 32 Labour MPs to support the Liberal Democrat amendment on the Iraq debate at Westminster on 25th November, John Barrett said:

"The Liberal Democrat position is perfectly clear and distinct from that of the Government and of the Conservative Party who maintain identical positions on the question of any future military action in Iraq.

"We believe that it is for the UN Security Council as a whole to determine if Iraq is in material breach of resolution 1441 and that no military action to enforce resolution 1441 should be taken against Iraq without a mandate from the UN Security Council. We have also stated that no British forces should be committed to any such action without a debate in the House of Commons and a vote on the issue. This view is now shared by a number of Labour MPs, who voted yesterday with the Liberal Democrats.

"I am glad to see that weapons inspectors have at last arrived in Iraq and look forward to progress now being made towards establishing the true position on the ground. Iraq must now provide a complete list of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by 8th December.

"However, we cannot rule out the possibility of military action at some time in the future, but before we commit our troops to action, that action should be fully debated in the House of Commons. There is now time for a debate as any element of surprise has gone as Saddam Hussein is well aware of our intentions. Would any other western democracy allow itself to become involved in a major war without the prior approval of its Parliament?

"I sincerely hope that we never have to make the decision to send our troops to war, and that military action is not triggered by unilateral action by the USA, which would result in pressure on the British Government to support action already underway.

"We must never forget that the majority of people who will inevitably die in any such action will be innocent civilians and any recourse to military action must always be a last resort when all other options have failed."


Read John's speech on Iraq , Friday 4 October 2002


You can view the Government dossier Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (pdf format)

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.