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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] What a brave, brave man that Blair is. Of course, it's not HIS blood he's talking about, right? By Hasan Suroor LONDON SEPT. 6. The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has said that he is willing to pay the "blood price'' for Britain's special relationship with America by supporting a U.S.-led attack on Iraq even as Labour MPs warned of a "split'' in the party on the issue. In the strongest public backing yet for U.S. moves on Iraq, he said Britain would be there when the "shooting starts'' because he believed that "general expressions of support and sympathy'' were not enough. "They need to know are you prepared to commit, are you prepared to be there, and when the shooting starts, are you prepared to be there'' he told the BBC for a documentary "Hotline to the President'', to be screened on Sunday. Mr. Blair's remarks, ahead of his weekend "war'' summit with the U.S. President, George W. Bush, were seen to confirm his critics' worst fears that he was determined to plunge Britain into a war despite growing public hostility and threat of a revolt within the Government. In a sign of increasing unease in the Cabinet, Robin Cook, leader of the Commons and former Foreign Secretary, joined the call for a parliamentary vote before committing Britain to any military intervention, reminding the Prime Minister that the Labour Party, then in opposition, had taken the same position ahead of the 1991 Gulf War. ``In practical terms, it is not conceivable that Britain could embark on military action without the support in the House of Commons,'' he said as a radio poll showed that the majority of Labour MPs did not think there was sufficient evidence to attack Iraq. "There's a very strong feeling in the Labour Party that the Prime Minister has largely cut himself off from listening to grassroots opinion,'' Mark Sneddon, a member of the party's National Executive said. The Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, said it was "absolutely imperative'' that the Prime Minister briefed Parliament on his talks with Mr. Bush while the Archbishop-designate of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, urged Britain and the U.S. to take the "explosive nature of the wider situation'' into account before taking the plunge. Even the Tory chief, Ian Duncan Smith, who supports Mr Blair's stance, called for the issue to be debated in Parliament. Mr Blair, in his widely reported BBC interview, heaped praise on Mr. Bush, describing him as an "extremely charming personality... really direct... very straight and extremely easy to deal with.'' He claimed it was in Britain's national interest to support Mr. Bush's war aims in Iraq. "If I thought they were committing military action in a way that was wrong, I would not support it. I am very reluctant ever to get into military action, but there are some times when it is inevitable,'' he said, prompting fears that his remarks could deepen the rift with his European allies who are extremely reluctant to be dragged into a war without a fresh U.N. mandate. http://www.hinduonnet.com/2002/09/07/stories/2002090701191400.htm --------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk