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Sunday, 21 April, 2002, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Galloway issues Iraq splits warning
Tony Blair graphic
Concerns have been raised about the PM's stance
Tony Blair has been warned an UK-backed attack against Iraq could topple his leadership and split the government "down the middle".

Veteran backbencher George Galloway has repeated his warning to the Prime Minister that action against Saddam Hussein could have a disastrous effect.

Mr Galloway said there was "already a lot of unhappiness" with the Prime Minister on a range of policies and suggested moves against Iraq could be "the last straw for Tony Blair".

George Galloway
George Galloway has criticised the PM before

The Glasgow Kelvin MP, speaking on Scottish Television, also suggested an attack on Iraq could lead to the overthrow of "puppet kings and stooge presidents".

He said: "I think it would split the Labour Party down the middle and it could - I know this sounds fancy -, it could lead to the defeat of the Blair leadership in the Labour Party, because it would be - if I can use the phrase - the last straw that broke the camel's back.

"There's already a lot of unhappiness with Tony Blair on a whole range of things and if he led us into such a disaster as this behind the generalship of George W Bush, it could be the last straw for Tony Blair."

He added: "The reality clearly is that several of the west's best friends in the Middle East, puppet kings and stooge presidents, would be overthrown if an attack on Iraq took place, because the streets of the Arab capitals are full of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators enraged by their regime's failure to come to the aid of the Palestinians."

Saddam Hussein
Saddam has been urged to readmit UN arms inspectors

Earlier this week, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw tried to reassure MPs concerned about a possible strike against Saddam Hussein, insisting no decision on military action was likely to be made for some time.

But he warned Saddam Hussein's regime to allow weapons inspectors back into Iraq, saying it was in breach of nine separate United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Mr Straw told the Commons: "Our message is clear, if (Saddam) has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear from weapons inspectors."

He added: "As the Prime Minister said, no decisions about military action have been made, nor, might I add, are likely to be made, if made at all, for some time."


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Tony BlairIraq action
Should Britain take action against Iraq?
See also:

21 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Blair urges new Mid-East peace talks
10 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Blair faces MPs' anger over Iraq
10 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Blair tactics backfire over Iraq
10 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Head to head: Action on Iraq
14 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Galloway warns of 'revolution'
06 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Iraq prompts MP shouting match
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