[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Tory MP urges Iraq troop pull-out
Michael Ancram
Mr Ancram said Iraq is effectively in a state of civil war
A senior Conservative MP has called for British troops to withdraw from Iraq - going against his party's policy.

Michael Ancram, writing in the Daily Mail, says Iraq is effectively in a state of civil war and because of that, troops should be pulled out.

Downing Street said British troops would stay in Iraq until they had "finished the job" of bringing democracy to the country.

Conservative policy is also that troops should stay as long as necessary.

But Mr Ancram, former shadow foreign secretary and deputy Conservative leader, said: "It is time now for us to get out of Iraq with dignity and honour while we still can."

Mr Ancram said Britain must "not take sides between Sunnis and Shias".

"It has always been evident that in the event of civil war we should just get out," he said.

He said it was hard to see what more British troops could do in the country, adding "having set out at the beginning to be part of the solution it is now sadly evident that we are in danger of becoming the problem".

'Transitional government'

A Conservative spokesman told the Daily Mail Mr Ancram was "entitled to his views".

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "For the first time, we have had democratic elections in Iraq which have been truly democratic.

"We have the process going on of forming a government. That government and its predecessor needs to be given the security in which to make politics work.

"The existing democratically-elected government - the transitional government - has indicated that it wants us to stay to help finish that job.

"We are prepared to do so."



Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific