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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

I will give way in a moment, but I want to make a few introductory remarks.

I believe that the Prime Minister's last push for peace is important. It is the language that Saddam Hussein understands. It is based on the clear understanding that Saddam Hussein only begins to comply when his feet are held to the flames and the heat begins to take effect. Equally, it is based on the knowledge that, the moment the heat is turned off, he returns to his old threatening ways, as we have heard from the Foreign Secretary.

The peaceful disarming of Hussein may, in the event, not be possible, but I believe that it has been right to try to do it. The Foreign Secretary has painted a very pessimistic picture in that regard today, but we know that, if there is to be a peaceful outcome, it will happen only if the determination of the international community to resort to force if necessary is clear and unambiguous.

Saddam Hussein has always taken ambiguity as a sign of weakness, so the last push for peace depends on his understanding clearly that there is no way out other than to disarm, and that the final opportunity that the Security Council signed up to in resolution 1441 means precisely what it says.