[A-List] Iraq: UK dissent
Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Fri Mar 15 00:44:52 MST 2002
Galloway claims 'revolution in the air' over action against Iraq
The Herald, 15 March 2002
REVOLUTION is brewing on Labour's back
benches over a series of leadership decisions,
including its support for American threats of war
in Iraq, George Galloway claimed yesterday.
The Glasgow Kelvin MP, a long-standing critic
of Tony Blair, said discussions in the House of
Commons tea-room had seen normally loyal
back benchers call for Cabinet reshuffles and
even suggest a leadership challenge.
In an article in the Spectator, Mr Galloway made
clear he did not believe there was any genuine
prospect of a challenge to Mr Blair, but said the
discussions reflected serious discontent with the
He told BBC Radio: "It hasn't been a great start
to the second term, as Mr Blair implicitly
acknowledged when he relaunched his credo in
the centre of London just the other day.
"Undoubtedly, the opposition to the proposed
American war in the Middle East has
crystallised a lot of nascent opposition to the
current drift of policy and management inside
the parliamentary Labour party - not hitherto a
revolutionary body of men and women.
"For the first time in eight years, there was, in
the tea-room, talk amongst people whose
names I don't even know, so far from the list of
usual suspects they are, about the urgent need
for a reshuffle and relaunch of the government.
"There was even talk from two members -
neither of them on the official usual suspects list
- about the possibility of a leadership challenge,
and that sort of mutinous talk.
"I'm not suggesting even light-heartedly that
there is any such thing in the offing, but the fact
that these conversations are taking place, and
that more than 100 Labour MPs have put their
names to a parliamentary motion saying no war
on Iraq, shows that people are just not happy."
He added: "Revolution is in the air and what
bliss it is to be alive."
However, Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow
Cathcart, insisted last night Mr Blair would have
the backing of a large majority of Labour MPs if
he chose to back US action against Saddam
Hussein. Speaking at a meeting of Labour
activists in his constituency, Mr Harris predicted
a war with Iraq was "inevitable".
"The only thing that can prevent it now is a
complete reversal of policy by Saddam on the
question of UN arms inspectors," he said.
Mr Harris argued that the minority of MPs who
would oppose action were the same ones who
were against action against Saddam in 1991
during the Gulf War, and who also opposed
action in Kosovo in 1999 and in Afghanistan in
"If the advice of some Labour MPs and
commentators had been followed before now,
Kuwait would be part of a greater Iraq,
Slobodan Milosovic would still be in power in
Yugoslavia, and the Taliban would still be
murdering Afghanistan's citizens," he said.
Full article at:
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michael.keaney at mbs.fi
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