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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Mowlam publicly supports Short
Clare Short
Clare Short launched a series of scathing attacks on Tony Blair
Mo Mowlam has sent an open message of support to Clare Short telling her she had "done the right thing" in resigning over Iraq.

The former Northern Ireland Secretary, who stepped down as an MP at the last election, said that Ms Short had "shone a spotlight on the failures of the government's foreign policy".

And she warned her former Cabinet colleague to expect "bad-mouthing" from former colleagues for the embarrassment she caused the government in her resignation speech last week.

In her open letter in the Sunday Times, Ms Mowlam wrote: "Your integrity, shown by you resignation, puts others to shame... Keep going, your supporters are still with you."

Your being on the back benches is a waste
Mo Mowlam

Ms Short resigned over a draft UN resolution being discussed at the Security Council because it did not give the UN its promised central role in rebuilding Iraq.

In a scathing attack she called the UK's position "totally dishonourable".

Ms Mowlam appeared to agree and said mistakes in the run up to the war "have been legion".

Ms Short criticised Tony Blair's "presidential" style of leadership and recommended that he should step down before the next election.

Brown's intervention

Ms Mowlam said that Ms Short's resignation "reminds us that no weapons of mass destruction have been found, that the United States and Britain have been unprepared for the difficulties in running Iraq after the war and that Britain's diplomacy up to the beginning of the war was instrumental in seriously damaging the United Nations and the European Union".

She said she hoped Ms Short would soon be back in the Cabinet because: "Your being on the back benches is a waste."

Meanwhile Chancellor Gordon Brown confirmed that he had tried to persuade Ms Short not to quit the government - although he insisted he had no prior knowledge when she eventually decided to go.

Mr Brown told BBC1's Breakfast With Frost: "I didn't know exactly what she was finally going to decide, but I said to her that she should stay in the government.

"She worked very well on international development and so too will [successor Baroness) Valerie Amos."

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