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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 19:47 GMT
Dumfries MP quits over war
Russell Brown
Russell Brown is MP for Dumfries
A third Scottish Labour MP has resigned from the government over the Iraq crisis.

Dumfries MP Russell Brown has stepped down as a parliamentary aide to the leader of the house of Lords, Lord Mostyn.

Mr Brown said he was not convinced that there was enough international support for military action against Saddam Hussein.

He is the third Scottish MP to resign in two days.

Livingston MP Robin Cook, the leader of the Commons, resigned as a minister on the eve of a debate at Westminster on Tuesday.

Rebel amendment

He was followed that night by Ayr MP Sandra Osborne, who quit as parliamentary aide to Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell.

Prime Minister Tony Blair won Commons backing to send UK forces into battle.

In the vote, 217 MPs - as many as 139 of them Labour backbenchers - backed a rebel amendment opposing the government's stance on Iraq, with 396 opposing the motion.

A motion backing the government's position was passed by 412 votes to 149.

I was not convinced that there was sufficient international backing for military action
Russell Brown
Mr Brown, who has been MP for Dumfries since 1997, abstained in the vote on the government's motion.

He said: "I made my position clear some time ago that I could not support a government motion calling for military action with Iraq unless I was convinced that it was the very last resort and that such action, even if vetoed by France, had clear international support."

Mr Brown said he agreed with much of the government motion, particularly the commitment to the Middle East peace process.

But he explained: "I did not vote with the government in favour of the government's motion because I was not convinced that there was sufficient international backing for military action."

He said that those who had expressed concerns should accept that parliament had voted to back the prime minister's decision and voice their support for British troops when military action gets under way.

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