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Friday, April 16, 1999 Published at 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK

UK Politics

Iraq attack bill fails

Some MPs are totally opposed to raids on Iraq

A backbench bill making Parliament's consent necessary before fresh air strikes can take place against Iraq is has failed to become law.

The bill, put forward by Labour MP Tam Dalyell, aimed to prevent new air strikes against Iraq unless two thirds of MPs backed military action.

The bill failed as it did not receive the Royal Assent.

Speaking before the his bill's rejection, Mr Dalyell said: "I am not going crawling to the Queen. This has nothing to do with her."

But Commons authorities say the bill needed the assent of the Queen as the deployment of the UK's armed forces is a prerogative power, and this bill would impose a significant limitation on the exercise of that power.

The Military Action Against Iraq Parliamentary Approval Bill was a response to the UK's participation in Operation Desert Fox last year.

[ image: Tam Dalyell:
Tam Dalyell: "Parliament ought to be consulted"
Parliament was only able to debate the UK's role in this military action on 17 December, after air strikes had already begun.

Mr Dalyell told BBC News Online his bill was "a very simple proposal.

"If we embark on a war situation, Parliament ought to be consulted before the event.

"Had it happened in relation to Iraq I don't think we would have got into this situation of bombing oil pumping stations and simply strengthening the hand of the Saddam Hussein - and on Kosovo we would not have started bombing."

The MP for Linlithgow added: "A number of us would have the warned of the dangers and stopped us sleepwalking into this impossible situation.

"Two years ago thousands of people demonstrated in Belgrade against President Milosevic and now the same people are manning the barricades for him."

Mr Dalyell is one of the Labour MPs, including former Cabinet minister Tony Benn, who have joined the recent protests against the Nato air attacks on Serbia.

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