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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 16:03 GMT
Court threat to Blair over Iraq
Mark Thomas
Mr Thomas is campaigning against a possible war
Tony Blair could find himself in the dock of the International Criminal Court if war crimes are committed by the west against Iraq, according to anti-war activisits.

I think there is an incredible chasm that is opening up between the leadership and the membership of the Labour Party

Alan Simpson
A coalition of those opposed to war, including Greenpeace, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the Green Party and comedian Mark Thomas launched a new peace symbol of a white ribbon.

Mr Thomas said that money raised from selling the ribbon would go to putting Mr Blair, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon "in the dock" if crimes were committed against Iraqi civilians.

"We want people to know that war criminals are not just the losers - often victors are war criminals as well," he said.

Also at the press conference were Labour MPs Alan Simpson and Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Simpson predicted that a group of Labour MPs and party members would be among those marching against war on Saturday.

Chasm?

"I think there is an incredible chasm that is opening up between the leadership and the membership of the Labour Party," he said.

According to anti-war MPs speaking after a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Wednesday two to one members are against attacking Iraq.

Alan Simpson
Mr Simpson warned of a possible split in Labour
Mr Corbyn had earlier warned: "A larger and larger number of Labour MPs are lining up against the war.

"The government is in difficulty, they are not winning people over.

"Tony Blair's standing within the party is falling. The government is more interested in spending 3.5bn on a war with Iraq yet at the same time is saying there isn't money for firefighters and teachers."

Opposition to war extends to several former Labour ministers who have put their names to a Commons motion on attacking Iraq.

Evidence?

They include Chris Smith, Glenda Jackson, Peter Kilfoyle and Tony Banks as well as representatives from other political parties.

The motion urged Mr Blair not to allow British forces to take part in a war unless there was "clear evidence" that Iraq poses an imminent threat to peace.

It said a vote in the Commons was needed before a war involving British forces could get underway.

And they called for a resolution by the UN expressly sanctioning military action and said "all other policy options" should be exhausted before Britain went to war.

Earlier at prime minister's questions Mr Blair said he acknowledged that people who oppose war with Iraq were motivated by the best of intentions.

But he urged protesters planning to join a march in London on Saturday to recognise that his position was held with sincerity and conviction too.


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08 Feb 03 | England
04 Feb 03 | England
18 Apr 02 | Politics

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