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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 04:20 GMT 05:20 UK
Blair to brief MPs on war diplomacy
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw (l)
Blair and Straw (l): Still building global coalition
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is meeting senior MPs from all parties to brief them on his latest efforts to build a global coalition against terrorism.

Mr Blair has invited members of four select committees - defence, the intelligence services, home and foreign affairs - to Downing Street for the Monday meeting.

He will tell them about the results of his tours to Europe and the US last week, as well as the latest diplomatic moves undertaken by his government.

Downing Street says his main aim is to ensure that the international coalition being built abroad is matched by a cross-party consensus at home.

The meeting comes amid calls from backbenchers of all parties for Parliament to be recalled to debate Britain's contribution to the coalition battling terrorism.

Straw to visit Iran

On Sunday Mr Blair continued his shuttle diplomacy, speaking on the phone to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

He is planning further conversations with his foreign counterparts this week, including one with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Monday.

Tourists, one masked, look at collapsed World Trade Center in New York
Blair will brief MPs on the response to the attacks so far

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is setting off on a tour of the Middle East, including Iran, on Monday, to do his bit in the attempts to build a global coalition.

Ahead of his visit, Mr Straw praised the "human understanding which Iran showed" following the US attacks, and predicted a "new era" in relations with the Islamic state.

Home Secretary David Blunkett is looking at ways to counter terrorism within the UK.

On Sunday he said he was seriously considering introducing compulsory identity cards, as well as various new pieces of anti-terrorist legislation.

These are understood to include pan-European arrest warrants, new powers for police to arrest terrorist suspects for interrogation, and the allowance of transcripts of phone calls bugged by MI5 as evidence in court.

Growing dissent

However, there are signs of growing unease among the Labour backbenches over British involvement in the US response to the attacks.

Mohammed Sarwar, the Muslim Labour MP for Glasgow Govan, warned that America was seeking to be "accuser, investigator, prosecutor and at the same time judge and jury" in the case.

And former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle warned of American "hawks" using the crisis to "settle old scores" with countries like Iraq.

The BBC's Guto Harri in Downing Street
"There has been a very heavy hint that the toppling of the Taleban is now a war aim"
Defence Committee Chair Bruce George
and Home Affairs Committee Chair Chris Mullin discuss the briefing
Tory Party Chair David Davies
will back parliament's recall if required, saying its "place is to debate issues of substance"
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