Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:24 pm on 17th March 2003.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Foreign Secretary 8:24 pm, 17th March 2003

I thought that I had explained that to the House. [Hon. Members: "No."] I am not demonising anybody; I am simply laying out the facts of the matter and they are straightforward. My hon. and learned Friend is acquainted with the words of the law so I am sure that he will be almost as familiar as I am with the terms of 1441. As I have already explained to the House, that laid out a clear set of obligations on Iraq and a process for the United Nations. We were following that process because of Iraq's non-compliance. We were close to achieving a consensus and were in exactly the same situation as we were shortly before we achieved consensus on 1441. Then, a week ago today, President Chirac came along and said in terms that, whatever the circumstances, France would veto a second resolution. That is what he said and it paralysed the negotiation process. The responsibility for there not being a second resolution, which was never needed legally although we would have preferred it politically, does not rest on the shoulders of the United Kingdom Government.