Monday, March 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

UK MP resigns on Iraq issue
10 threaten to quit Blair government

London, March 9
In the first fallout of differences in the Blair ministry over the impending US-led attack on Iraq a close aide of the Environment Minister resigned today and others have threatened to follow suit if the UK goes to war without UN backing.

Mr Andy Reed, MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, said he would give ‘his full reasons for resigning tomorrow.

Meanwhile, 10 members have threatened to resign from Tony Blair’s government if he went ahead with military action against Saddam Hussain without a second UN resolution authorising military action.

The Blair Government is faced with a crisis with 200 Labour MPs rebelling against the Prime Minister, reports here said. It is reported that two ministerial aides have also expressed their intention to resign over the matter and that there were more in the offing.

“The Labour rebels are demanding a vote in the Commons after Tuesday, when a second resolution is expected which will set the deadline of March 17 for Saddam,” it said.

The Parliamentarians have warned that if the government failed to offer a vote, they would force standing order 24 of the House of Commons which facilitated an emergency debate and would impel Mr Blair to face the Chamber.

Among the other PPSs who are said to be considering their positions are, reportedly, Mr Ken Furchase, PPS to leader of the Commons Robin Cook, Mr Tony Wright, PPS to Treasury Minister Ruth Kelly, Mr Michael Jabez, PPS to the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, Mr Andy Love, aide to Health Secretary Alan Milburn and Mr Dennis Turner, PPS to the International Development Secretary Clare Short.

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Observer Mission in the demilitarised zone between Kuwait and Iraq has ordered evacuation of its civilian staff after border fences were found cut at many places by suspected American Marines. PTI


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