Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1991.

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Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon 12:00 am, 24th January 1991

I apologise to the hon. Gentleman for beginning to answer his question before he had asked it. As he knows, this was brought about entirely by his courtesy in giving me advance notice of the question, for which I am most grateful. It is a conspiracy which may not last for ever, but it is enjoyable while it does.

No one wants a ground war and it can be avoided if Saddam Hussein withdraws from Kuwait, as we have asked him to do for some time. We have made it perfectly clear before—and I reiterate—that we shall not use certain weapons, but I would not think it right to spare the Iraqi military at the possible risk to British soldiers at some future stage in the conflict. My prime and overriding concern must be, and will continue to be, for the safety of British soldiers and for the avoidance of unnecessary risk.