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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 08:47 GMT
Case for the Iraq war: Your views
Tory leader Michael Howard
The Conservative party has announced it is withdrawing its support from the Butler Inquiry into the intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq.

The party leader, Michael Howard, has said Lord Butler had chosen to examine the evidence in an unacceptably restricted fashion.

The Liberal Democrats had refused to take part from the beginning, saying the terms of reference were too narrow.

It comes amidst the claims by former Cabinet Minister Clare Short that British spies had been involved in bugging UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

What's your view on the case for the Iraq war? Are the Conservative Party right to pull out of the Butler Inquiry? Send us your comments.

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The Tories don't have a leg to stand on on this issue
Nick, London, UK
I vehemently opposed the war. However the Tories don't have a leg to stand on on this issue - they are even more into kow-towing to the USA than Tony and co. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that they would have gone to war in Iraq on at least as flimsy a pretext as Labour did.
Nick, London, UK

I think time will only tell whether it was worth it or not and the people will be better expressing their views at a general election. Let's move on, I am bored with the whole thing and these inquires are just being used by Claire and other left wing extremists for personal gain and revenge!
Martin, North England

This inquiry is going to be a whitewash like the last, and rather then face a public backlash the Tories have decided to do the sensible thing and withdraw. Mr Blair can no longer hide behind these inquiries, he must come out, face the public, and tell us why he really took our country and our troops to an illegal war.
Ahmed Saeed, Glasgow, Scotland

I think the Conservatives made a blunder in allowing this discredited Government to hoodwink them into joining this sham of an inquiry in the first place. After Hutton, they should have known better! However, at least they are getting out now and Butler will be written off before it even delivers its whitewash.
Richard, Kidderminster, England

Good on them. I am a Labour supporter, but I am becoming more and more ashamed where Tony Blair and his friends are leading the institution of Labour. The founding fathers must be turning in their graves.
Boh, Manchester

Demands for the publication of the Attorney General's ruling, Clare Short on the rampage and now Michael Howard announces the Tories are withdrawing from the WMD inquiry. It smacks of opportunism but then he's good at that.
Peter Haymes, Felixstowe

We all know the answer to whether the war was legal or not. I am not a Conservative supporter but welcome their move. Tony Blair will never have another vote from me.
Jamie, Glasgow

I believe it was totally wrong to go to war over Iraq. Our political system must be modernised to stop dictatorial politicians who contemptuously dismiss the will of the people. All of our political parties promote elected dictatorship and it's 'time for change'!
Brian Langfield, Yorkshire, UK

The Tory party is correct to distance itself from this inquiry. This Labour Government has lost all credibility at home and is fast losing it abroad. A full and independent public inquiry to investigate the case and legality for the Iraq war is now required. Nothing else will do.
Robin Prior, Burnham-on-Crouch, UK

By broadening the inquiry it's obvious that all the Tories want to do is target individuals and specifically Tony Blair. It would be nice if for a change they actually came up with something interesting and relevant than to just keep going on about how bad Blair is etc etc. Do something interesting and maybe you'll get voted for.
Rob Brennan, Barnstaple

The war was illegal. It violated international laws, it was in contravention of combative rules of engagement, it does not constitute a "just war", and every day as an occupying force we are continuing to commit this crime. The Conservative Party are right to pull out, but they should never have been in it in the first place. Blair and Bush must both resign and be prosecuted for their acts.
Tom Franklin, London, UK

At last - some proper direction from this lacklustre opposition
Misbah, UK

At last - some proper direction from this lacklustre opposition. After the Hutton Report anybody with an ounce of intelligence would know that this would be an even bigger fit-up. Well done the Lib-Dems for immediately smelling the stench of pure corruption which is emanating from this government and welcome to reality to the Tory party!
Misbah, UK

Good move by the Tories. People will rightly question the government's position now and the terms of reference they gave Butler. Mr Blair now has many questions to answer and this debate will rumble on for a while yet....
Jon Lewis, Cardiff, Wales, UK

The Lib Dems, who taunt those who reconsider a position after closer examination of facts, ought to remember the riposte: "I, Sir, when I find that I had been wrong, promptly change my mind. You, Sir, what do you do?"
Hugh, London, England

Personally I am disgusted that politicians just regard us all as idiots to be duped when it suits them. But of course as usual the last people to be found guilty of lying to those that they "serve" will be the politicians. After all they never lie and are never wrong, are they? Hutton "proved" that.

Butler's inquiry is a means of burying unpleasant facts and the Tories are right to withdraw
James Rae, London England

Butler's inquiry is a means of burying unpleasant facts and the Tories are right to withdraw and hopefully this will either rubbish the enquiry before it's even published its report, or the terms of reference will be changed to broaden the brief and allow the truth to come out.
James Rae, London England

What is the point of this inquiry? It is clearly just window dressing. Furthermore, like Hutton, it gets the relevant individuals off the hook so they don't have to answer questions (yet again), it's full of spin and PR like everything from this government, and it's going to cost me personally a lot of money (yet again). I'm really not impressed.
Alan Marson, Birmingham, England

I am surprised that the Tories are pulling out of the enquiry. Their actions are unlikely to force any kind of change to the enquiry's terms of reference and will leave them in a weaker position with regard to getting at Tony Blair. Perhaps Michael Howard has decided to sit back and let BBC journalists prize the Prime Minister out of office, as they surely will.
Howard, Manchester, UK

I fully support Michael Howard's courageous and honourable decision. The Butler Inquiry will be "Iraq Whitewash 2", a waste of time and public money. The only purpose that the Butler Inquiry now serves is as part of the beleaguered campaign to re-elect Tony Blair.
Mike White, London, England

Let Butler have his inquiry, and let's have another inquiry led by Claire Short
John Hammond, Oxford, UK

Let Butler have his inquiry, and let's have another inquiry led by Claire Short. The public can decide which enquiry goes into the details we want to know i.e. Why did we "really" go to war...was it economic reasons, wmd's or an instruction from Israel?
John Hammond, Oxford, UK

The Tories have had a terrible time on Iraq from the moment they gave Blair support in waging George Bush's illegal war. The Lib Dems are the only party coming out of this looking good. But by saying that Mates can stay on the committee in a personal capacity if he wants to, Michael Howard is taking a bad situation and making it embarrassingly worse. We're back in IDS territory here - it'll be okay as long as you're emphatic every time you change your mind!
Duncan Hothersall, Edinburgh, Scotland

Tony Blair's insistence that there were WMD and that the British intelligence was correct makes him look like a fool. He must face the facts and instigate an inquiry into how the government and the intelligence services got everything so horribly wrong. Blair should and must resign.
William Hoggarth, Loughborough, UK

There was never a case for war on Iraq based on WMD...Oil for the USA yes, a threat to Global Security I don't think so! If the enquiry now consists of just Labour members & one Tory, (if Michael Mates stays on it), who doesn't represent the Tory party, then the enquiry should stop. Oh and then we should have another enquiry into why the enquiry went wrong!
David May, Glossop England

It's all a bit too late isn't it? The war has been and gone
Mark H, UK

It's all a bit too late isn't it? The war has been and gone, Saddam has been ousted (no-one can deny that that is a good thing...) and now we rattle on about whether it was legal or not. Why waste time discussing it? If, as many people believe, Blair was wrong and if, as many people believe, he lied, then the answer is simple. Have the courage of your convictions and don't vote for Blair at the next election. Then you will have had your say.
Mark H, UK

The Conservatives (like the Lib Dems) are starting to sense that the public is getting tired of their exploiting the difficulties surrounding the war in Iraq for their own political gain. Can we now begin to discuss what the state of things would be if no action had been taken in Iraq?
Mark, Wales

Mr Howard has illustrated very graphically that the purpose of these Inquiries is nothing to do with a search for truth and enlightenment, but is entirely political from both sides.
Tony, Liverpool

The country laughed at the Hutton Report - this one will be no differente
Nigel Cubbage, Redhill, Surrey

There is little point in having an "Inquiry" when it is set up, and has its terms of reference set, by the defence... again. The country laughed at the Hutton Report - this one will be no different and the opposition parties are right to have absolutely nothing to do with it.
Nigel Cubbage, Redhill, Surrey

Are the Tories becoming an opposition? If they are then it's about time.
Barry, Godalming UK

Whatever ones views on the rights or wrongs of going to war one thing is certain the Conservative Party have not come out of it in a good light. Unlike the Lib Dems the Conservatives supported the War and at times were more "hawkish" than the Government. The War was clearly unpopular with the general public and the Tories are now trying to backtrack - it won't wash! They have little to attack the Government on the home front and are now resorting to this, it strikes at desperation! The election when it comes will be fought on domestic issues and the Conservatives know they will have no chance then!
Iain D Monaghan, UK

What's the point if wasting time going through the motions when it is just another whitewash!
Richard, UK

Absolutely right, what's the point if wasting time going through the motions when it is just another whitewash! Just bring on the elections and lets get rid of Labour and poodle Blair !
Richard, UK

We should all be proud of our armed forces and the UK's role in removing a vicious dictator who tortured and murdered his own people. The victims of Saddam seem to have been forgotten by the anti-war, anti-government brigade.
David Morris, Brecon UK

The truth is out there! It's just we'll never find it...
Rob, UK

Bearing in mind the very restricted nature of the remit is it any surprise? This enquiry is not what the public want. They want a real inquiry as to why we went to war, not an enquiry into the processes involved in making that decision. Clearly there is considerable public unrest as to how the decisions were made, by whom and on what information.
Terry, Epsom, England

If it is restricted, all we can look forward to is millions of pounds of wasted taxpayers' money and a hefty document at the end of it that says nothing, criticises nobody, fails to answer any of the main issues and simply raises a whole new set of questions. It's only achievement will be to take the heat off the government for a few months whilst the storm dies down. Something we've seen rather a lot of recently.
Martin, London, UK

Will people now praise Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats from refusing, right from the start, to take part
Pascal Jacquemain, Welwyn Garden City, UK

People praised Robin Cook for pulling out from the government before the war and accused Clare Short of disingenuousness for leaving after the events. Will people now praise Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats from refusing, right from the start, to take part in whitewash part II and scorn Michael Howard and the Conservatives for supporting, then withdrawing from this alleged enquiry when they realised they could not get any political gain from it?
Pascal Jacquemain, Welwyn Garden City, UK

The issue is being cleverly fudged. Saddam is an evil swine and had to be brought down. However, were the country and the House of Commons misled by the Prime Minister? Surely, that is the question that needs answering by an Inquiry, and it is a resigning issue.
Tim Sudbury, Walpole St Peter, Norfolk

Michael Howard is playing party politics here, just like the Lib Dems. I am disappointed, being a Tory voter, because I thought Michael Howard would get away from this sort of destructive point scoring. Surely the perception of politics & politicians in the UK has hit rock bottom by now?
Roger Morgan Freedlan, Whitwick, England

The Conservatives have a bit of a nerve to pull out here
Mike, South Oxfordshire

The Conservatives have a bit of a nerve to pull out here. Considering my Tory MP said, in a reply to my request to vote against going to war, that there were three reasons why we should go to war: (1) WMD (2) Humanitarian factors and (3) keeping up relations with the USA. Number three clearly over rides the first two. Why are they so fussy about WMD now? The case was always false and the reasons many labour and Tory MPs voted for it are beyond belief.
Mike, South Oxfordshire

I'm so glad about this. Now Tony must open a larger, meaningful inquiry, as there's no point running one which only has the backing of the people who should be under investigation.
Sam Gibson, Aberdeen, UK

The failure to disclose all details of the war in Iraq can only alienate the voters and add to their suspicions.
D. McMichael, Scotland

Isn't it good to see the Conservatives following the lead of the Lib Dems for a change? Better late than never I suppose.
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK


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