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Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
MoD denies Iraq call-up plans
British troops during Operation Desert Storm
About 1,500 reservists were called up for the Gulf War
The Ministry of Defence has denied newspaper reports that it is planning to mobilise reserve troops for action against Iraq.

The Sunday Telegraph says that about 1,000 reserve troops will receive their call-up papers by the end of the month in preparation for a military strike.

The paper says ministers have had their hand forced by the need to give employers two-months' notice to arrange cover.

But an MoD spokeswoman insisted no decisions had been made to mobilise reservists.

About 1,500 part-time soldiers were initially called up in the build-up to the Gulf War 12 years ago.

Specialists

The total British force committed to Operation Desert Storm was about 45,000.

Defence chiefs reportedly held a confidential briefing on the implications of a call-up for other departments last week.

Saddam Hussein
There are fears Saddam Hussein is building deadly weapons
Specialists needed to fill gaps in the Army's ailing medical service are likely to make up the bulk of any reserve call-up.

There are growing concerns among MPs that the US and the UK are prepared to take military action alone without United Nations authority.

On Saturday, the Liberal Democrats warned Prime Minister Tony Blair to "stop acting like the American foreign minister" over his stance on Iraq.

Liberal Democrat president Lord Dholakia said the prime minister must start listening to British concerns about military action.

Iraq vote

Nine Labour anti-war rebels have begun a parliamentary petition demanding a Commons vote on Iraq as soon as possible.

MPs were denied a vote on the Iraq crisis during last month's emergency debate on the issue after the government's dossier on Iraq was published.

However, more than 60 MPs, including 50 Labour rebels, registered their opposition to possible military action in a procedural vote.

Ministers have said there will be a vote if there is military action against Iraq, but have refused to be drawn on the timing for that vote.


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19 Oct 02 | Politics
18 Oct 02 | Politics
15 Oct 02 | Politics
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