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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 have to admit that I was not here for that, but for a very good reason. My hon. Friend Mr. Duncan, who spoke on my behalf, tells me that he received no information from the Secretary of State for International Development, other than a stream of abuse.

There is another important question on which we need reassurance. Everything that we are being asked to support is on the basis of the existence of weapons of mass destruction. We are told that they are well hidden. Are there contingency plans to ensure that, in the event of the toppling of Saddam Hussein, such material does not fall into the hands of terrorists or weapons dealers, or simply remain as a hidden arsenal that will be available to others in future? Even if we cannot be given the details, can we be reassured that clear plans exist to ensure that weapons of mass destruction and programmes to develop them will be well and truly eliminated by whatever action is taken?

I welcome what the Foreign Secretary has said about progress on the other area of concern in the region—the nearer middle east. It is essential for the reassurance of other countries in the region that that issue is not put to one side during the next few weeks.