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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 22:51 GMT
At-a-glance: Iraq inquiry debate
Here are the key points from the House of Commons debate on the call for an inquiry into the Iraq war.

Adam Price

  • The Plaid Cymru MP opened the debate by saying the Iraq war was a "monumental catastrophe", which was about "the breakdown in our very system of government".

  • A "proper inquiry into what went wrong" could rebuild public mistrust. It must focus on "false claims" leading to war, why the war happened and why planning for the war had failed, he added.

  • This could also prevent further mistakes and "other Iraqs".

  • Mr Price said MPs needed to "turn the logic of the government on its head". It was important to restore "the balance" between the legislature and the executive.

  • It had been wrong to say actions in Iraq "would reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack" in the UK or elsewhere, he added and an inquiry was needed now to see "where we go from here".

    Douglas Hogg

  • The Conservative MP said the government's argument that an inquiry should not happen while the war was still happening was similar to that used by Neville Chamberlain's government during the troubled Norwegian campaign in 1940. (A debate at that time was forced by MPs and the size of the vote against the government led to Mr Chamberlain's resignation and Winston Churchill becoming PM).

    Margaret Beckett

  • The foreign secretary said there would "come a time" to learn lessons from Iraq, but this was not it. There was a danger of "sending the wrong signals at the wrong time" and appeared to set a deadline for operations, she said.

  • There had already been two independent inquiries - the Butler Review of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Hutton Inquiry on the circumstances leading to the death of Dr David Kelly, she said. There was "absolutely nothing" in the situation in Iraq that made this the right time for another.

  • "Major strides" were being made by the Iraqi government but the current position was "extremely delicate" and UK troops would not stay in the country a "day longer than they are needed".

  • "I have no doubt that there will come a time when we want to look at the lessons learned from our full experience in Iraq just as we have in from every other major conflict in the past," Ms Beckett said. "But now, I repeat, is not that time.

  • "The challenges Iraq faces are, as I have set out today, acute. They will require undivided attention and focus. Our responsibility to the people of Iraq demands nothing less."

    Frank Field

  • Much of the debate was "looking backwards", the Labour MP said, adding that most people were very worried about the future.

    Ken Clarke

  • The Tory MP said the Commons could send a "very united message" if an inquiry like the Franks inquiry, held after the Falklands war, could be promised.

    William Hague

  • The shadow foreign secretary called for a "lengthier" debate on the future of Iraq, as this was of "immense importance". A major inquiry at "an appropriate time" would have "obvious merits".

  • MPs should judge the call "on the merits of the case", but no one could argue there were not "lessons of huge importance" to learn, Mr Hague said.

  • Such an inquiry should not be started "at this moment", while much in Iraq was "in the balance", but there was no legitimate reason why ministers could not promise an inquiry to be carried out during the next year, to report in 2008.

  • The argument that an inquiry would damage troops' morale did "not bear scrutiny". They would be happier to know MPs were considering their situation, Mr Hague said.

  • A committee along the lines of that set up for the Franks inquiry would be appropriate.

    David Blunkett

  • The former Labour home secretary said armed services and intelligence services should not be "diverted" by an inquiry while the war was still going on.

    Michael Moore

  • The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman said now was the right time for an inquiry into the Iraq war.

  • He said Parliament had not been "doing its duty" in holding the government to account. The debate in the United States had moved on, with even President Bush more willing to accept change, he said.

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind

  • The former Conservative foreign secretary said the "disintegration" of Iraq had been a consequence of the war. Not to have had a debate for three years in Parliament in government time had been a "disgrace" and ministers had to have the "guts" to defend their policy regularly.

  • The situation in the Middle East was the "worst it's ever been", he added.

    Jeremy Corbyn

  • The Labour MP said the debate was about the role of MPs in holding the government to account. The lessons of Iraq might "spare us from future conflicts", he added.

    Alex Salmond

  • The Scottish National Party leader said it was an "extraordinary proposition" that now was not the right time for an inquiry by MPs, when the Butler Review and Hutton Inquiry had taken place during the war.

    Key speakers in the debate over the Iraq invasion


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