faces revolt over Iraq
LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair could suffer a major
from within the Labour Party when he lays out his hardline stance
disarming Iraq before a divided parliament today.
As Britain and
the United States table a second United Nations
resolution which could set
the stage for war against Iraq, Blair is set
for a rough ride when he
addresses parliament on Tuesday and at a full
debate and vote on
With Labour split over a possible war and the public hostile
attack, the vote in the House of Commons could deal a further blow
Blair`s precarious position at home over Iraq.
In a bid to skirt
opposition to war, the government will carefully word
the debate`s motion to
focus on Britain`s approach to dealing with Iraq
through the U.N., rather
than asking parliament to support military
will confirm the commitment of the government and of
the House to our
strategy of handling the Iraq crisis through the United
minister Robin Cook said on Monday.
Cook said the debate`s motion would
neither be a "trap" nor an attempt
to fudge the issue but members of
parliament (MPs) were already
grumbling that they were being set
"No MP need fear that support of it will be interpreted as support
any specific military action," Cook told parliament.
the Commons voted to support U.N. resolution 1441, which
calls on Saddam to
disarm. Blair has interpreted that vote as broad
parliamentary backing for
military action if Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein fails to
Referring to November`s vote, Labour`s Donald Anderson said
government was seeking to put too much weight on that".
Up to 100
of Labour`s 410 MPs are believed to be mulling rebellion and
some 120 MPs,
mostly from Labour, have already signed up to a Commons
motion that puts four
conditions on sending British forces to Iraq.
Those are that there is
clear evidence that Iraq poses an imminent
threat to peace, that the House of
Commons is allowed to authorise
military action, that any attack has U.N.
backing and that all other
policy options have been exhausted.
matches the stance of countries such as Germany, France and Russia
U.N. weapons inspectors and diplomacy to be given more time.
could table an amendment to Wednesday`s motion opposing
Fortunately for Blair, the opposition Conservative
Party are backing his
stance on Iraq and such an amendment would be
But it would
still send a clear message to Blair who is aware that his
popularity and even his premiership could be on the line
Close to one million people demonstrated against war in London
this month. And a Guardian/ICM poll last week showed Blair`s
rating had plummeted, with 55 percent of people disapproving of the
he does his job.