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Iraq

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:17 pm on 26th February 2003.

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Photo of Michael Ancram Michael Ancram Shadow Secretary of State, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party, Shadow Foreign Secretary 1:17 pm, 26th February 2003

The Opposition support this motion. In many ways, it is a rerun of the debate in this House on 25 November last year, in which we also supported the Government motion. This motion poses no new questions or challenges. We have therefore tabled no amendment.

None of us wants war. For those of us who have spent a significant part of our political lives working to establish peace, it is a desperately sad prospect. However, sometimes conflict is necessary in the short term to achieve peace through the defeat of aggression, and sometimes it is the threat of conflict that can establish peace.

The current situation that exists in Iraq today is not peace. It is conflict waiting in the wings. It has been there for the past 12 years. As the Foreign Secretary has pointed out, that is what containment has meant. To prolong it in the absence of genuine disarmament would be to prolong the uncertainty and suffering of the people of Iraq. It would leave the conflict and the crisis unresolved. It would also send a message to Saddam Hussein that the urgent requirement to disarm was no longer urgent, that the determination to secure immediate compliance with resolution 1441 was no longer immediate. It would not be peace. It would be the procrastination of a conflict that would be more vicious and more damaging when eventually it came.