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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 10:51 GMT
Epitaph tribute to anti-war Cook
Robin Cook
Robin Cook was a vocal critic of the decision to go to war
Robin Cook's epitaph pays tribute to his opposition to the Iraq war.

Mr Cook, a vocal critic of the decision to topple Saddam Hussein, died of a heart attack, aged 59, in August 2005.

"I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of Parliament to decide on war," reads the headstone of the late Livingston MP.

The headstone also describes the former foreign secretary, who quit the Cabinet on the eve of war to vote against it, as a "Parliamentarian and statesman".

The words on the stone, erected in Grange Cemetery, Edinburgh, are thought to have been chosen by his wife Gaynor and two sons from his first marriage, Chris and Peter.

Resignation speech

He was leader of the House of Commons when he resigned in March 2003, delivering a withering speech on the decision to go to war.

He told the House: "From the start of the present crisis, I have insisted, as Leader of the House, on the right of this place to vote on whether Britain should go to war.

"It has been a favourite theme of commentators that this House no longer occupies a central role in British politics.

Headstone inscription
The inscription tells of Mr Cook's opposition to war

"Nothing could better demonstrate that they are wrong than for this House to stop the commitment of troops in a war that has neither international agreement nor domestic support. "

He won a standing ovation as he said he intended to vote against the government's plans for military action.

But two days later, after nine hours of debate, Prime Minister Tony Blair won the backing of MPs to send UK troops into war - despite a major backbench rebellion.

Mr Cook said months later the decision that Parliament should vote on the war before troops were committed had been an "historic precedent".

But he said he had become "increasingly angry" at himself for not trying harder to persuade the prime minister against going to war with Iraq.

He died after collapsing while out hill walking in the Highlands with his wife.




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