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Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
UN 'should lead against Iraq'
Charles Kennedy
Kennedy is sceptical over military action
The Liberal Democrats have passed an emergency motion insisting military action against Iraq should only be taken as a last resort and with UN and Commons backing

Echoing the words of leader Charles Kennedy during Tuesday's Commons debate on the crisis, the party's conference demanded evidence that Saddam Hussein was a threat.

And it said action should only come with full UN backing and after approval by the Commons.

The conference also dismissed the government's dossier of evidence against Saddam, claiming it did not constitute evidence of an immediate threat.

Campbell warned of anti-Americanism
The party's spokesman Menzies Campbell led the debate, warning about anti-Americanism.

He said that, as a child of the 1960s, he did not think it was time to bring out the anti-Vietnam war T shirts or Bob Dylan records.

Stronger motion

But he insisted Saddam did need to be tackled by the international community.

His comments came after Mr Kennedy had claimed President George Bush's demand for regime change in Iraq smacked of 'imperialism'.

Mr Campbell's speech was not seen as a direct criticism of his leader, but a warning to those who were driven solely by anti-American sentiments.

And he added: "I know of no principle of international law which authorises regime change by means of military force."

Some delegates wanted an even stronger motion demanding that no military action of any sort should be taken against Saddam.

And the party leadership remains sceptical about taking action, also believing it reflects public opinion.

During the recall of parliament on Tuesday, Charles Kennedy said it would be wrong to join the US in "precipitate action" against Saddam.

Saddam Hussein
UN should tackle Saddam, Lib Dems say
He said: "For those of us who have never subscribed to British unilateralism, we are not about to sign up to American unilateralism now either."

Last resort

The debate came after publication of the dossier of evidence against Iraq on Tuesday.

The Lib Dem motion condemned Saddam's human rights record.

It also called on all Middle East countries to abandon weapons of mass destruction programmes.

it said the UK should only join US-led military action against Iraq if new UN resolutions are put in place and only as a last resort.

It added that there must be "clear and incontrovertible evidence" showing Saddam poses a real threat.


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25 Sep 02 | Politics
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