Britain would not have joined Iraq war without WMD: minister

19th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain would not have joined the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq if it had known that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Monday.

Miliband made the comments in a BBC debate on foreign affairs before the May 6 general election with William Hague, foreign affairs spokesman for opposition Conservatives, and Ed Davey, his Liberal Democrat counterpart.

Asked whether Britain would have gone into Iraq alongside the US if it knew then what it knows now, he said: "Obviously there would have been no such decision, because if we had known then what we know now, if we'd have known that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, there would have been no UN resolutions and no vote in the House of Commons.

"The 2010 election is not about Iraq, that's what we did in 2005" (the year of Britain's last general election).

Asked a second time to clarify that Britain would not have gone into Iraq under those circumstances, he added: "Of course not, because there would have been no WMD, no United Nations resolution, no vote in the House of Commons."

Miliband's comments seem to run contrary to comments he made to Britain's public inquiry into the highly controversial war last month.

Then, he said he had supported the war because he thought Iraqi leader Saddam's defiance of the UN "was itself a danger to international peace" and the UN's authority had to be upheld.

Britain's general election race is looking hard to call after a recent surge of support for the Liberal Democrats, usually Britain's third largest party, who opposed the war in Iraq.

A YouGov/Sun newspaper poll Monday put the Liberal Democrats ahead, up three on 33 percent, the Conservatives down one percent to 32 and Labour down two on 26.


© 2010 AFP

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