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UK Minister Clare Short Threatens to Resign Over Iraq War

by Mary Pjerrou Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2003 at 1:16 AM P.O. Box 106, Elk, CA 95432

BREAKING NEWS! Labour Party Secretary for Internat'l Dev'ment Clare Short has publicly threatened to resign over Blair's "extraordinarily reckless" stance on Iraq

BREAKING NEWS! March 9, 2003.

BBC reports that Clare Short, Tony Blair's Secretary for International Development, has publicly threatened to resign over Blair's "extraordinarily reckless" policy on Iraq. She says US/UK invasion of Iraq without UN mandate to use force and to rebuild the country is a violation of international law; that US insistence on immediate war threatens the UN; and that we are "ten minutes to midnight"--that is why she is speaking out.

There is a wonderful BBC radio interview of Clare Short at:

Here is the BBC article:


Clare Short has told BBC News she will resign from the government if Britain goes to war against Iraq without United Nations backing.

The international development secretary told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour she could not "stay and defend the indefensible".

"If there is not UN authority for military action or the reconstruction of the country, I will not uphold a breach of international law or this undermining of the UN," she told the programme.

"I will resign from the government."

Britain, the US and Spain have put forward a draft resolution to the UN which sets a deadline of 17 March for Baghdad to disarm.

Downing Street insists it is confident the Security Council will back the draft resolution in a vote proposed to take place on Tuesday.

Clare Short: "We are undermining the UN"

Mr Blair spent Sunday at his Chequers official country residence, engaged in an intensive round of telephone diplomacy over the deadline idea.

But Ms Short said she was surprised at Tony Blair's "extraordinarily reckless" stance on Iraq.

"The whole atmosphere of the current situation is deeply reckless - reckless for the world, reckless for the undermining of the UN in this disorderly world, reckless with our government, reckless with his own future, position and place in history."

Ms Short said she had raised her objections in frequent detailed discussions with both the prime minister and foreign secretary Jack Straw

"People like me are being told, 'Yes, all this is under consideration'," she said . "And then the spin the next day is, 'We are ready for war'."

It was time to put her "cards on the table" and reveal her intentions, Ms Short added.

"I feel the need now, because it is 10 minutes to midnight, to say out loud what I think Britain should do with its influence - because our failure to use our influence properly is so dangerous for the world," Ms Short said.

"We are undermining the UN," she added.

"Allowing the world to be so bitterly divided - the division in Europe, the sense of anger and injustice in the Middle East - is very, very dangerous," Ms Short told Westminster Hour. "It is a recruiting sergeant for terrorism.

BBC political correspondent John Pienaar said Ms Short's threat had come as a surprise to Downing Street.

"Tony Blair didn't know Clare Short was going to say this, didn't know that she felt this way.

"She isn't just laying down this ultimatum, she is accusing Number 10 of reverting to old habits of spin, saying one thing in private and another thing in public."


Earlier on Sunday Loughborough MP Andy Reed announced he was quitting as parliamentary aide to environment secretary Margaret Beckett.

Three other parliamentary private secretaries - MPs who work as assistants to ministers - have indicated they also would step down if action was taken without a new UN resolution.

Another unnamed aide to a cabinet minister told the Sunday Telegraph he would also depart if war went ahead without a new resolution.

In a recent vote, 122 Labour MPs rebelled against Mr Blair's hardline stance.

Other aides threatening to resign:

Cambridge MP Anne Campbell, PPS to Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt

Michael Jabez Foster, PPS to Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general

Great Yarmouth MP Tony Wright, PPS to Ruth Kelly, the Treasury minister.

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