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Posted by andreas from ( on Monday, September 23, 2002 at 7:57AM :

The Mirror [UK]

Monday 23 September 2002


Exclusive By Oonagh Blackman Deputy Political Editor

LABOUR MPs have ambushed Tony Blair with a hard-hitting dossier exposing Government hypocrisy and lies over Iraq.

The document, seen by the Daily Mirror, will acutely embarrass No 10.

It has been circulated in time to torpedo the Premier's own dossier against Iraq which is due out ahead of tomorrow's emergency Commons debate.

The report is designed to give Labour MPs ammunition to blow apart Mr Blair's arguments for sending British troops into a U.S.-led war on Saddam Hussein.

The No 10 document will contain graphic pictures of the victims of chemical warfare.

But the Labour Against The War dossier highlights a catalogue of myths and decades of hypocrisy over Britain and America's dealings with Iraq.

It says America has turned a blind eye in the past to Iraq's use of chemical weapons, experts insist there is no proof that Saddam is close to building nuclear weapons, and Iraq has only a small number of missiles.

The dossier, using intelligence and official reports from Europe and America going back 20 years, was written by MP Alan Simpson and Cambridge University lecturer Dr Glen Rangwala.

It says: "This pamphlet separates the evidence for what we know about Iraq from the wild suppositions used as the pretext for a war.

"You cannot launch a war on the basis of unconfirmed suspicions of both weapons and intentions to use them."

Mr Blair will today preside over one of the most turbulent Cabinet meetings since Labour came to power in 1997.

Some MPs believe International Development Secretary Clare Short and Commons Leader Robin Cook could end up resigning over the Premier's plans to back President Bush's war on Iraq.

The two Cabinet rebels risked the fury of Downing Street and spoke out over the weekend about their opposition to military strikes.

Ms Short said on GMTV: "We cannot have another Gulf war. We cannot have the people of Iraq suffering again. They have suffered too much. That would be wrong."

Several Labour MPs are convinced Mr Cook will quit the Cabinet if British troops join a U.S.-led war against Iraq without UN backing. The ex-Foreign Secretary said: "It is very important that any action taken on Iraq is one that does have international support."

Liberal Democrats will step up pressure against war at their party conference in Brighton this week. Leader Charles Kennedy said yesterday: "We want to see the moral as well as the political authority of the United Nations remain paramount in all of this."

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith backed Mr Blair, and said military action was the only way to stop Saddam breaching UN resolutions over weapons of mass destruction. Former Foreign Secretary Lord Owen said Iraq should be invaded and Saddam Hussein put on trial at a UN court for using chemical weapons on his own people, unless he complies with UN resolutions.

-- andreas
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