[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Was Rowan Williams right?
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams
Dr Williams' views on the war are widely known
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' latest sermon will not have gone down well in Downing Street.

But is there any truth in his suggestion that the aftermath of the Iraq war has led a loss of trust in the nation's political system?

BBC News Online asked five MPs from different sides of the debate for their views.

TORY MP DAVID LIDINGTON

"Yes, I think the public has lost trust. It is partly because of some of the things about Iraq, using spin over it, but also other things, like going back on their word over tuition fees.

We face a general weakening of trust in the political system of our nation
Dr Rowan Williams

"Admitting mistakes is part of regaining that trust, but you must acknowledge limitations of one's knowledge in advance. You have to talk straight to people.

"Regarding whether the government had 'repressed criticism' - talk to any Labour MP and they would agree with the archbishop."

TORY MP ANN WIDDECOMBE

"Public trust has been damaged not by the fact of going to war, but the reasons for going to war.

"It's the spin of this government - that is damaging to democracy."

LABOUR MP MEG MUNN

"I do not agree at all with the view the government has repressed criticism.

"The situation over Iraq - and indeed over many, many issues - is there has been considerably more debate than has been the case in the past.

"We live in a democracy with a very robust media.

"People did demonstrate about the issue of Iraq, there was lots of discussion, and that is how I would like to see our country continue to run."

LABOUR MP CHRIS BRYANT

"I don't agree.

"Those who say we were taken to war on a lie haven't pursued the logic of their own argument. If the PM knew there weren't weapons of mass destruction, then why did he take us into a war that would prove there were no weapons of mass destruction?

"The archbishop is a great man and I have known his views on the war for a long time.

"I don't think for a single instance that the prime minister lied and I don't think the archbishop believes he lied.

"The archbishop is a clever man and he has used precisely the words that he has."

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP RICHARD YOUNGER-ROSS

"The archbishop is stating the obvious.

"We have said for a long time that to restore public trust there needs to be an inquiry into why we went to war. The government has refused to do that.

"To admit errors is to say you got it wrong. That would certainly help but we still need an inquiry."




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Robert Pigott
"Dr Williams opposed the armed intervention in Iraq from the start"



SEE ALSO:
Archbishop's anti-war message
26 Dec 02  |  Wales


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific