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International Situation (Contingency Planning)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:33 pm on 19th March 2003.

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Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour 2:33 pm, 19th March 2003

I sincerely hope that British troops—and Iraqi civilians—are in their own homes as soon as possible and as safely as possible. I hope that Elaine Smith recognises that, throughout all the debates that have taken place in the chamber and on the number of occasions in recent months on which I have been questioned on the subject, I have made it consistently clear that there is a diversity of opinion on the matter in Scotland, in this chamber and even inside my own party, and that I respect that diversity of opinion and expect others to do the same and to listen and to move forward together, if we can do that. I hope that, in the weeks to come, which will be difficult for those on all sides of the previous argument and for those who want to represent their constituents' or their own point of view in the debates that I am sure will continue, we will remember that our troops are in a dangerous and difficult situation and that the people of Iraq need the support that we and those troops can give them to bring the situation to a speedy conclusion.