BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 17:11 GMT
Anti-war rebels try to force Iraq vote
Marines on service in Afghanistan
America has asked the UK to provide troops
Anti-war MPs are trying to make sure the House of Commons is not "cheated" out of having a specific vote on a possible Iraq war.

The rebels fear Monday's debate on Iraq could be the only chance MPs have to express their views formally on military action.


There is a strong feeling we are getting cheated out of a vote on the war

Alice Mahon
Labour MP
The government is asking MPs to support a motion on Monday backing the United Nations Security Council resolution on getting arms inspections restarted in Iraq.

MPs got first sight of the motion on Wednesday evening and opponents of war labelled it as an attempt to get their backing by making it a "carefully sculpted" and "bland" motion.

'Wrong focus'

The government is thought to be set to put Labour MPs on a three-line whip to back the motion and is said to be offering some of the malcontents private chats with Tony Blair.

Veteran Labour MP Tam Dalyell is set to table an addition to the motion, saying MPs decline to support America in a war with Iraq without a specific formal debate.

The rebels, some of whom met to discuss tactics on Thursday, admit the amendment is unlikely to get called for debate.

Geoff Hoon
Geoff Hoon says UK troops are prepared
Labour war critic, Alice Mahon, told BBC News Online: "There is a strong feeling we are getting cheated out of a vote on the war."

The Halifax MP believes the public is concerned about the threat from al-Qaeda terrorists, not from Iraq.

'Well sculpted motion'

The government's motion was published after ministers revealed the UK was among 60 nations to be asked by America to provide troops for a possible conflict.

Mr Blair told the House of Commons no specific number of troops had been yet requested.

"If there was to be a breach of the UN resolution and we go to military action in circumstances we thought were justified, we would be part of any coalition to make sure that the will of the UN was upheld," he said.


I hope Saddam Hussein chooses peace rather than conflict

Tony Blair

The motion up for debate pledges support for the UN resolution and says Iraq must fully comply with all its provisions.

It continues: "If it fails to do so, the Security Council should meet in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance."

Mr Dalyell, the longest serving MP, said the motion was "extremely well sculpted" to give the government the widest possible scope for whatever action it wanted to take.

More than 50 Labour MPs rebelled against the government earlier this year by registering their disquiet in a procedural Commons motion.

UN weapons inspectors have already arrived back in Iraq to check if Saddam Hussein is building up weapons of mass destruction.

The resolution unanimously agreed by the UN means Iraq has to disclose details of its alleged weapons programmes by 8 December.

Overstretch concerns

Mr Blair, who has now joined other leaders at the Nato summit, on Wednesday said the key decision was for Saddam Hussein.

"I hope he chooses peace rather than conflict," said Mr Blair.

Earlier, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said Iraqi attacks on British planes patrolling Iraq's no-fly zones should form part of the judgement on whether Saddam was keeping to UN resolutions.

The UK's most senior military figure, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, said he was "extremely concerned" about the impact a continuing firefighters' dispute could have on preparations for possible war.

That prompted Tory calls on Thursday for Mr Hoon to make a statement about the admiral's "public variance".

But speaking at the Nato summit on Thursday, Mr Blair insisted: "We will do what is necessary both to secure ourselves at home and to make sure that the will of the United Nations is enforced abroad."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Shukman
"It's all about putting pressure on Saddam"

Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

20 Nov 02 | Middle East
20 Nov 02 | Politics
20 Nov 02 | Politics
25 Sep 02 | Politics
19 Nov 02 | Politics
19 Nov 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes