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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 July, 2004, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
At-a-glance Iraq debate
Here are the key points so far from the House of Commons debate on the Butler Report into the intelligence used to justify going to war with Iraq:

Tony Blair

  • He said much had been made of the fact that the caveats in the intelligence were left out when it was made public in the government's September 2002 dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

  • But he insisted the intelligence left little doubt about Saddam Hussein and the threat he posed with weapons of mass destruction.

  • The prime minister acknowledged the Joint Intelligence Committee's (JIC) warning in March 2003 that some intelligence was "sporadic and patchy" but he argued it was also plain Saddam was trying to acquire WMD.

  • He said that in future, warnings on the limits of intelligence would be included if intelligence was published again.

  • Ex-cabinet minister Clare Short asked why UN weapons inspectors were not allowed more time to complete their work in Iraq when there was nothing to suggest there was an immediate threat from Saddam.

  • Ms Short said the way the US-led coalition had gone to war split international alliances.

  • But Mr Blair said some countries such as France would never have agreed to an ultimatum over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

  • Mr Blair said weapons inspectors had made it clear there was not full co-operation by Iraq - a pattern of behaviour that occurred repeatedly over a number of years.

  • On ballistic missiles alone, Saddam was going "way beyond" what he was allowed to do under UN resolutions, said the premier.

  • Iraq had, despite all the current difficulties, a future in its grasp, said Mr Blair, who argued removing Saddam was not a war crime but an act of liberation.

    Michael Howard

  • Conservative leader Michael Howard said JIC assessments said intelligence was "sporadic, patchy, little and limited" while the prime minister presented it as "extensive, detailed and authoritative".

  • Mr Blair said he did not accept it was a mistake to go to war although he also accepted criticisms in the Butler report over errors. He condemned Mr Howard's "shabby opportunism".

  • The Tory leader said the motion on the war which MPs voted on gave the government permission to use all means necessary to disarm Saddam but it was now clear there was nothing to disarm.

  • The Tory leader said therefore he could not have voted for the motion if he had known then what he knew now. But he still believed in the war.

  • Mr Howard said the prize of a stable Iraq was worth striving for and real progress was being made in the country in spite of the absence of any weapons of mass destruction.

  • Mr Blair had said twice that Lord Hutton had seen all the intelligence on the case for war but the Butler Report had shown that was not the case.

  • MI6 and the JIC knew intelligence had been withdrawn, but Lord Hutton was not told.

  • Mr Howard asked whether anyone would believe the prime minister if he again had to make a case for going to war.

  • The Tory leader said he had no doubt the prime minister thought he was "acting in the best interests of the country" but in making his case for war, what he had said the intelligence said did not reflect what the intelligence told him.

  • Mr Blair had not been straight with the British people - why was it for this prime minister "sorry seems to be the hardest word", Mr Howard asked.

    Charles Kennedy

  • Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy said the background to the Butler report was a war which his party thought had not been necessary and which had done damage to Britain's national interests.

  • Mr Kennedy said there had been a series of political misjudgements and the case for war was "fatally flawed".

  • There had been a "profound loss of public trust" in the government because of the way the case for war was made.

  • Mr Kennedy argued that Mr Blair said before the war that Saddam could have saved himself if he complied with UN sanctions - that was in February 2003.

  • The people who were "carrying the can" for the Iraq war were those who had died.

  • Mr Blair had to demonstrate a "genuine contrition" over the events that had taken place.

    William Hague

  • Ex-Tory leader William Hague said the way the government had presented its case for war had turned into a public relations disaster - though he added he still believed it had been right to remove Saddam Hussein on his record alone.

  • Mr Hague poured scorn on the idea that ministers had not questioned the claim that Iraq could launch WMD in 45 minutes and that Mr Blair had not been informed that it referred only to battlefield weapons.

  • John Scarlett - the next MI6 head - had crossed the line into politics and it would be difficult for someone shrouded in such controversy to take up a key intelligence role, said Mr Hague.

    Robin Cook

  • The former foreign secretary he was "frankly astonished" by the September dossier. Intelligence is by its nature cautious but the dossier was "one-sided and dogmatic".

  • He said he found it breathtaking that Mr Blair did not realise the 45-minute warning referred to battlefield weapons rather than long-range missiles.

  • Mr Cook said the change that precipitated the movement away from the policy of containment was a "regime change" in America.

  • He called on Mr Blair to ditch the US doctrine of pre-emptive strike because it placed too much weight on intelligence - intelligence alone could never alone bear the weight of going to a war that kills 20,000 people.

  • Mr Scarlett should not take up the post of head of MI6, said Mr Cook.

    Dalyell's resignation call

  • The longest serving MP, Labour's Tam Dalyell, said it was time for Tony Blair to quit as prime minister.

  • Ex-Armed Forces Minister, Tory MP Sir John Stanley, said he felt "deeply let down" by the government over the war.

  • He said the justification for the invasion had changed after the conflict to one of regime change.

    Michael Ancram

  • Summing up for the Tories, the shadow foreign secretary praised fellow MPs for the quality of debate inspite of the differences of opinion over the war.

  • The debate continues


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