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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Iain Duncan Smith's statement on Iraq
Iain Duncan Smith
Mr Duncan Smith welcomed Mr Blair's dossier
Here is an edited version of Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith's Commons response to Prime Minister Tony Blair's statement on Iraq.

The key question is whether Saddam Hussein has the means, the mentality, the motive to pose a threat to Britain's national security and to the wider international order.


The only question remaining is whether he has the motive to strike against Britain - I believe it is fair to assume he would

Iain Duncan Smith
The evidence produced in the Government's report shows clearly that Iraq is still pursuing its weapons of mass destruction programme.

The policy of containment is not working.

The Government dossier confirms that Iraq is self-sufficient in biological weapons and that the Iraq military is ready to deploy these and chemical weapons at some 45 minutes' notice.

'Terrorised his own people'

There should be no doubt about his mentality.

He has fought a protracted war with Iran, costing at least a million lives, he has gassed his own Kurdish population, he has persecuted the marsh Arabs, invaded and occupied Kuwait and he has launched missiles against Israel and Saudi Arabia.

He has been willing to defy the world order and to terrorise and starve his own people to continue his weapons programme.

He has diverted $3bn in the last year alone for that very purpose: money that could have gone to feed his own population.

The only question remaining is whether he has the motive to strike against Britain.

I believe it is fair to assume he would.

'International crisis'

There should be a clear timetable for the return of United Nations weapons inspectors and an unequivocal declaration that failure to comply will trigger military action.

No one wants to see British troops or any other troops engaged in war.

War should be the last resort when all other efforts have failed.

But Britain should never shy away from its responsibilities in a time of international crisis.

No second chance

Those who refuse to contemplate military action at any price must ask themselves how are we to force Saddam to comply with UN resolutions that he has flouted for a decade?

They must also ask themselves why only now, under threat of military intervention, has he talked about letting the UN inspectors back.

History is littered with the desire of decent people to give the likes of Saddam Hussein a second chance.

He has had ten years of second chances. Now surely is the time to act. This matter is in Saddam Hussein's hands now.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Guto Harri reports
"Tony Blair has had to cross many bridges on this issue"
Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram
"What I have seen is evidence that Saddam Hussein is continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction"
Lib Dem Chairman Mark Oaten:
"We cannot rush into military action"

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See also:

24 Sep 02 | Middle East
24 Sep 02 | Politics
23 Sep 02 | Panorama
24 Sep 02 | Americas
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