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UK's opposition calls for inquiry into Iraq war decision

world Updated: Jun 11, 2007 15:16 IST

AP
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Britain's opposition Conservative Party urged Parliament on Monday to back a formal inquiry into the decision to go to war in Iraq.

"We want the principle established that there must be an inquiry. It's about making sure we don't make the same mistakes again," said Liam Fox, the party's defense spokesman in Parliament. Prime Minister Tony Blair has ruled out an inquiry while British troops are deployed in Iraq.

The government was expected to defeat the motion, but interest would focus on how many members of Blair's Labour Party will back the proposal.

At the time the Conservative Party strongly supported Blair's decision to back the US-led invasion.

In a key House of Commons debate on March 18, 2003, shortly before the conflict began, 90 per cent of Conservative members of parliament voted for the invasion, compared to 62 per cent of the members of Blair's Labour Party. All the Liberal Democrats, the third-largest party in the Commons, voted against. "Whether we were in favor of the invasion of Iraq, which I certainly was, or against it, we've got to all be in favor of learning from the successes and the failures," Conservative foreign affairs spokesman William Hague said.

"We've got to learn how the machinery of government in this country operates in making the decision to go to war; we've got to learn about the management of relations with the United States, about the coordination of government departments," Hague said in an interview with Sky News.

Hague, who led the Conservative party from 1997 to 2001, spoke in favor of the invasion in the debate four years ago. At that time, he said it was part of Britain's "national interest to act in concert with the United States of America in matters of world peace and stability."