Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:53 pm on 3rd November 1998.

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Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Chair, Culture, Media and Sport Committee 4:53 pm, 3rd November 1998

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his statement has not only regional but global implications, in view of the potential threat to world stability posed by the acquisition of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons by Iraq? Does he agree that the crisis has been coming for a very long time, and that, on recent statements that he has made, I have warned that things would not get better, and could get worse, without firm action?

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that there is now no scope for further negotiation with Iraq, because the United Nations Security Council resolutions in place require not negotiation but compliance by Iraq, and we have seen that, if negotiation does take place, Saddam Hussein violates any agreement he makes? Having confirmed that UN resolutions authorise the use of force, should that be decided on, will my right hon. Friend accept from me that, unless Saddam now backs down, there is no alternative to military action, which must come sooner rather than later?