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Lord Deben never regretted being one of 16 MPs who voted against Iraq war

Ian Duncan Smith did not match Tony Blair He flattered him by including him in what was discreetly presented as a privileged secret briefing. He left No 10 as a war cheerleader.

The public was told that ministers obviously knew more than they could but would risk their lives to say too much. The government and opposition together said we must trust those in the know.Conservative Party Sanshin whip Support the invasion.

That Congress technically had no say. Trade agreements and declarations of war are royal prerogatives and therefore acts of the executive branch of government, not subject to parliamentary votes.

but Tony Blair Britain was forced to announce that it would not join the United States if Congress did not agree. At the same time, he reminded members of parliament that our valiant powers will serve them best if they have substantial support on that vote.

Inside the Conservative Party, outside the GungHo Force, there was real uncertainty. This was not a left-right issue. From right, Andrew Turner and Edward Lee partnered with One Nation Tories including Ken Clarke, Peter Ainsworth and Tony Baldley. The only thing that united us was that we didn’t believe the story that Britain was threatened by Saddam’s missiles. We never thought he had weapons of mass destruction or the means to carry them. If we weren’t threatened, why were we going to war?

We had important input from people with service backgrounds. Andrew Marison is a newly elected Member of Parliament for Westbury and a serving Territorial Officer who shares with us the skepticism of many of his fellow soldiers. voted against and was convened by September to patrol the streets of Basra.

Another ex-soldier, John Barron, said, “I know what a disaster war is. It should always be a last resort. We are far from that situation right now.” That was also the view of John Hollum, whose family has strong ties to the military. His skepticism was fueled by the belief that the documents presented to us bore all traces of tweaking by Blair’s publicist, Alastair Campbell.

The problem was how they could work with the Labor rebels to vote against the war without looking like a unilateralist.

We were, of course, helped by the fact that it became clear that the Labor opposition was the wider church, joined by unexpected supporters, notably Robin Cook, who had resigned from government as Speaker of the House. I was.

Enter Douglas Hogg, now Lord Hailsham. He drafted the proposed amendment and worked with Labor to get something we could all support. refused to get involved.

By now, I knew there were a dozen or so people who defied the sanshin’s whip, and who would abstain even if they were hungry. Four of them quit their shadow jobs. John Randall, John Barron, Jonathan Said, Humphrey Mullins.

It is especially difficult for new members to live up to the dire warnings of the whip, and our physical voting system serves the purpose of the whip. I remember well the unexpected shock that came from having to walk across the chamber instead of being caught in it.

Yet we went along – this unlikely rebel. I didn’t trust Tony Blair in other things, so why about this? President Bush had spoken of the importance of regime change, but had no plans to form this new administration. And why only Saddam? There were many other nasty regimes – were we going to overthrow them all? Britain was not threatened, so this could not be a morally just war.

But rebellion comes at a price, and since Ken Clarke was still a leader candidate, I thought the Tories would not forgive him, so I had him plead for another engagement and not to vote. I tried to let he was adamant. “This war is wrong and stupid. I vote against it.”

Either way, my party was wrong. I went to my constituency that weekend in anticipation of real trouble, and the right-wing supporters who opposed my pro-European views were the very people who stood by me and said, I understand. perfectly correct.”

Sixteen of us finally voted against the invasion. And he threw a dinner party to remind us that, ten years later, we have proven history to be right for this disparate set of Conservative MPs. Those still alive will come together again this year to celebrate our differences and the justice of our cause.

2003 was not a good time for the Tories. Following a second crushing election loss, a remnant of Conservative MPs defeated MPs’ elected leader, Ken Clarke, and Yin his Duncan elected Smith.

By early 2003, Smith’s lackluster performance had become disconcerting. We weren’t moving forward and we didn’t have a compelling alternative message. I was able to stand up. Blair became a natural ally of President George W. Bush.

Like Margaret Thatcher before him, Tony Blair was heavily influenced by how he was treated on the red carpet in the United States.

In fact, his support for the United States was already unconditional, as we found out when he barred us from asking further written questions about U.S. planes bombing Iraqi targets from bases in Suffolk. .

Rt Hon John Selwyn Gummer, Lord Deben, was one of many Conservative MPs who rebelled against party leaders who backed the government’s decision to go to war in 2003.

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