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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Iraq meeting plan blocked
A destroyed nuclear reactor near Baghdad
Blair says Iraq's arsenal poses a threat to Britain
A Labour MP has failed in his effort to organise an informal debate in Parliament on military action against Iraq.

Nottingham North MP Graham Allen is unhappy at Tony Blair's resistance to recalling Parliament during the summer recess for a special debate.

He took the matter into his own hands by meeting the Sergeant at Arms at the Commons on Tuesday to try to work out a deal to hire the chamber to hold an informal meeting of MPs.

But the attempt has been blocked and Mr Allen is now hoping to hire the nearby Church House for a meeting next Thursday.

Graham Allen MP
Allen says a debate must be held
Mr Allen said he had received the support of a large number of MPs and would contact them over his new plan.

MPs within the prime minister's own party and the Liberal Democrats have demanded a Commons debate on what they see as a critical issue.

They were frustrated to see the matter aired in other places - at a special press conference in Mr Blair's Sedgefield constituency, and at the TUC.

Last week, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said: "It would, quite frankly, be absurd if the only place that remained silent, in the middle of all this, is the one elected representative body of the people of Britain."

Rare move

Downing Street has rejected the pressure, arguing there is no need for a recall at present because action against Iraq is neither "imminent nor inevitable".

The decision to recall Parliament during recess is one only taken during times of national or international crisis or when there is a threat to UK security.

But it has been done four times during the past year - three times following the terror attacks on the US and once following the death of the Queen Mother.


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See also:

10 Sep 02 | Politics
08 Sep 02 | Politics
25 Aug 02 | Business
03 Sep 02 | Politics
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