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 believe—I say this in all seriousness—that no one in the House has done more for the cause of international development than my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. That happens to be true. Her dedication and commitment to the cause is huge.

The hon. Gentleman asked a serious question. We were reluctant to come to the House and spell out the detailed arrangements with respect to humanitarian aid because we were hoping against hope that there could be a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the crisis which, yes, would keep Saddam Hussein in place—so the issue of humanitarian relief would not arise—but would at the same time disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. I accept that we have almost certainly passed that point, and of course in the days and weeks ahead statements will be made to the House about our plans for humanitarian relief and reconstruction; but those plans are already contained, in outline, in the motion that we will present to the House tomorrow.