Building with Leaves Stripe
Huntingdon College: program in Political Science and International Studies; and Great Decisons Program

The Telegraph, articles on Tony Blair's coalition building for the war with Iraq.
compiled from web for academic purposes only, by Jeremy Lewis 23 Feb. 2003.

Strong opposition surfaced to the Labour Government's preparations for a second Gulf War among Labour members, the British church leaders and even the Pope.  Here are some samples.

Secret poll on US war plans worries Blair
                     By Benedict Brogan, Political Correspondent
                     (Filed: 09/08/2002)

                     Secret polling commissioned by Tony Blair last month
                     has added to Government anxiety about its ability to
                     win public and Cabinet support for American-led
                     military action against Iraq.

                     The Prime Minister, who has told Cabinet colleagues
                     that war "is a long way off", has been unsettled by
                     the results of a survey he commissioned which
                     shows deep-seated unease among voters about
                     America's intentions.

                     Ministers and Mr Blair's senior policy advisers are
                     understood to be frustrated by Washington's failure
                     to produce a plan of action against Saddam Hussein.

                     Mr Blair asked Philip Gould, his pollster, to sample
                     opinion using focus groups last month. It is
                     understood he was told that, among British voters,
                     President George W Bush is more unpopular than
                     the Tories.

                     The finding will be seized on by those in Labour who
                     argue against Britain joining war against Iraq
                     without a new United Nations resolution to justify
                     the action.

                     The consensus in Whitehall remains that any strike
                     is still several months away and will have to wait for
                     the outcome of the American mid-term congressional
                     elections in early November.

                     Yesterday Tony Lloyd, the former Foreign Office
                     minister, joined those questioning the legality of an
                     attack on Iraq and calling for UN weapons inspectors
                     to be sent back to the country.

                     Writing in the New Statesman magazine, he asked
                     why Mr Blair has still not published the dossier of
                     evidence on the threat posed by Saddam's
                     acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.

                     "Months ago, there was talk of a dossier damning
                     Saddam and his regime. But it is clear that there is
                     not enough hard evidence to condemn Iraq, or we
                     would have acted by now," he wrote. "So we must
                     call Saddam's bluff and demand that the weapons
                     inspectors go back with the remit to do their job
                     properly, and according to UN resolutions."

                     He claimed that Mr Bush had no legal grounds for
                     removing Saddam. "There is no legal basis for
                     regime change. How could there be, when it gives
                     carte blanche to superpowers everywhere to kick
                     out whatever regimes they fall out with?"

                     He added: "These are desperately serious issues,
                     not intellectual parlour games, and we have got to
                     have proper answers. If these are not forthcoming
                     and Britain drifts into a war there will be an
                     enormous outcry, certainly among backbench Labour
                     MPs, and much more widely among a public whose
                     revenge takes place at the ballot box."

                     Last night the Conservatives added their voice to
                     the calls for a recall of Parliamentif a decision is
                     taken on military action during the summer recess.

                     David Davis, the shadow secretary for the office of
                     the deputy prime minister, said the threat posed by
                     Iraq raised serious questions. "At present we are
                     keeping the option of a parliamentary recall under
                     review," he said.

                     "However, the Conservative Party recognises the
                     importance of accountability within Government. If
                     the Prime Minister makes a decision on committing
                     troops he should recall Parliament to debate the
                     matter. So far we have seen no evidence to suggest
                     that such a decision has been made."

                     Downing Street said there had been no change in
                     the position set out by Mr Blair last month, that the
                     "point of decision" has not been reached, and that
                     he would not be "pinned down" on a specific form of
                     consulting Parliament.

                     Earlier, Tam Dalyell, the Father of the House, again
                     demanded a pledge from Mr Blair to consult
                     Parliament before committing British forces to an
                     attack on Iraq.

                      31 July 2002: Unions tell Blair: no war on Iraq

                      18 March 2002: Short leads backlash against 'reckless' attitude
                      to Saddam

Attack on Iraq rejected by 2 in 3 voters
                     By Benedict Brogan, Political Correspondent and
                     Anthony King
                     (Filed: 12/08/2002)

                     Tony Blair and Labour will suffer a potentially
                     catastrophic loss of support if Britain joins American
                     military action against Iraq, a poll commissioned by
                     The Telegraph says today.

                     More than two-thirds of British voters
                     believe that a potential attack on
                     Saddam Hussein is not justified in
                     present circumstances, according to the
                     internet pollster YouGov.

                     The survey shows that Labour voters
                     would reconsider their support for the
                     Government if Mr Blair sent troops into action
                     against Iraq.

                     It found widespread unease about President George
                     Bush's ability to handle the crisis. More than half
                     feared that Mr Blair was becoming Mr Bush's

                     Saddam Hussein urged Mr Blair yesterday to
                     distance himself from America and adopt a more
                     "independent" approach towards Iraq.

                     "We will never surrender," the dictator said.

                     The YouGov findings seem to confirm private surveys
                     carried out for Mr Blair - and denied by No 10 -
                     suggesting that he would have to pay a heavy price
                     at the ballot box if he took Britain into war. Downing
                     Street insisted last week: "The Prime Minister is not

                     More than a third of Labour supporters lack
                     confidence in Mr Blair's ability to handle the crisis
                     and say they would lose sympathy with the
                     Government if America launched a military strike
                     against Saddam with British support.

                     The findings coincide with a warning from Maurice
                     Fitzpatrick, the head of economics at Tenon, the
                     professional services group, that the consequences
                     of military action could dent the prospects for
                     economic growth.

                     He said: "If growth over the next four years were to
                     be less than the Chancellor's forecast by just half of
                     one per cent because of a war, the impact would
                     leave a £12 billion black hole in the annual accounts
                     by 2006. This worry must be pressing in on Gordon

                     The YouGov poll found that three-quarters of
                     respondents believed that Saddam was a threat to
                     world peace.

                     But there was widespread doubt about whether
                     American action to topple him would succeed: only
                     13 per cent thought it would; three times as many
                     thought the chances were "poor".

                     Sixty-two per cent of respondents thought that
                     military action could result in a wider war in the
                     Middle East and 90 per cent feared Islamic terrorist
                     retaliation against the West.

                     A majority of Britons do not trust President Bush's
                     judgment, the survey shows.

                     Two-thirds of those interviewed said they had "not
                     much confidence" (40 per cent) or "no confidence at
                     all" (28 per cent) in Mr Bush's capacity to handle the
                     crisis wisely. Only five per cent had "a great deal of

                     Mr Blair fared slightly better. More than 40 per cent
                     said they had "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of
                     confidence in his ability to deal with Iraq. But more
                     than 50 per cent had either "not much confidence"
                     or "none at all".

                     Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign
                     affairs spokesman, said: "A prime minister who goes
                     to war without the knowledge that he has the
                     security of public opinion behind him is taking a very
                     substantial risk."

                     Mr Blair faced a renewed Labour call for conciliatory
                     gestures towards Iraq.

                     George Galloway, the Left-wing MP with close ties to
                     Baghdad, said that if Britain were prepared to
                     restore relations with Col Gaddafi in Libya despite
                     his links with the IRA, the murder of Wpc Yvonne
                     Fletcher and the Lockerbie bombing, it should be
                     willing to hold talks with Saddam about allowing
                     weapons inspectors into Iraq.

                     Referring to last week's visit to Libya by Mike
                     O'Brien, the Foreign Office minister, he said: "If it is
                     good enough for a British minister to kiss Gaddafi,
                     surely we can pick up the olive branch and test the
                     sincerity of Iraq's offer?"

                     A spokesman for Mr Blair said: "The point about
                     Saddam Hussein is that we are seeking to resolve
                     all this through the United Nations. But how many
                     Security Council resolutions has he failed to
                     implement or broken - 20 out of 23?

                     "It is a serious problem. We need to tackle the issue
                     of weapons of mass destruction. He needs to let the
                     weapons inspectors in."

                      10 August 2002: Blair not wobbling on Iraq, says aide

                      9 August 2002: Secret poll on US war plans worries Blair

                      8 August 2002: Britain brings Gaddafi in from cold

                      8 August 2002: War with Iraq a long way off, Blair tells

                      26 July 2002: War on Iraq not imminent, says Blair

                      12 July 2002: British spies in Iraq to incite revolt

You're losing the party over Iraq, Cabinet warns Blair
                     By Francis Elliott, Susan Bisset and Sean Rayment
                     (Filed: 12/01/2003)

                     Tony Blair has been warned by Cabinet ministers
                     that he must take urgent steps to "sell" his military
                     strategy on Iraq as he faces the threat of rebellion
                     from Labour MPs and party members.

                     The Prime Minister is being urged to "hit the road"
                     and undertake a nationwide tour explaining the
                     need for military action to counter the growing
                     threat of mass defections from party activists.

                     The stark message was delivered to the Prime
                     Minister last week by three of his most intimate
                     allies in the Cabinet: Tessa Jowell, the Culture
                     Secretary, Hilary Armstrong, the Chief Whip, and
                     Helen Liddell, the Scottish Secretary. Their warning
                     over the scale of the revolt facing Mr Blair was
                     supported by a Telegraph survey of Labour Party
                     constituency chairmen which suggests that
                     thousands of members will quit the party if Britain
                     invades Iraq without a specific UN mandate.

                     Of 74 chairmen contacted, 69 per cent predicted that
                     war with Iraq would prompt resignations among
                     local members and five per cent admitted that they
                     themselves would considering quitting. The survey
                     also found that 89 per cent of chairmen opposed a
                     war without a further UN resolution sanctioning the
                     use of force against Saddam Hussein.

                     The extent of the damage already inflicted on
                     Labour's membership will be revealed in official
                     figures due out this spring. They are expected to
                     show a further dramatic decline from the current
                     official total of 270,000, down from a high of 405,000
                     in 1997.

                     One Cabinet minister said: "Tony really needs to do
                     more to sell this to the party. A number of us have
                     told him that he needs to hit the road and actually
                     speak to members directly."

                     Mr Blair has said that he is "too busy" to undertake
                     a nationwide roadshow on Iraq. However, the scale
                     of his task in winning political support was
                     underlined last night as senior MPs and military
                     officers warned him that he did not have a mandate
                     to go to war. Donald Anderson, the chairman of the
                     Commons foreign affairs committee, said: "In a
                     democracy one needs public backing for any war and
                     the reality is that the public is still unconvinced."

                     Mr Anderson also served notice on the Prime
                     Minister that MPs would rebel unless there was a
                     second UN resolution explicitly authorising the use of
                     force. "Parliamentary opinion needs facts and needs
                     to be convinced that any action is in accordance with
                     international law which means, in effect, a second
                     UN Security Council resolution."

                     The unease over a possible invasion without a
                     second UN resolution extends to senior military
                     officers. One told The Telegraph: "The country
                     doesn't have the stomach for a war in Iraq at the
                     moment and frankly neither do many senior officers.

                     "That feeling will persist until it is clear there is no
                     other option and all diplomatic courses have been
                     exhausted. That means having the backing of the
                     United Nations."

                     Mr Blair will attempt to regain the political initiative
                     when he meets Hans Blix, the head of the UN
                     weapons inspectors, at No 10 on Friday. In an effort
                     to persuade the public of the need for action,
                     Downing Street is to press Mr Blix to give further
                     details of how Saddam is attempting to thwart
                     inspectors. "We have to be clear that the onus is on
                     Saddam to be pro-active in helping the inspectors,
                     not to be negative," the Prime Minister's spokesman

                     Mr Blair was in Hanover last night for private talks
                     with Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor,
                     aimed at ending German opposition to military
                     intervention. Germany took over one of the rotating
                     seats on the UN Security Council this month. Their
                     talks came as Donald Rumsfeld, the United States
                     defence secretary, signed a deployment order
                     sending a further 35,000 American troops to the Gulf
                     region - the biggest single addition so far to the
                     build-up of allied forces encircling Iraq. The troops
                     will be in place by the end of the month, giving the
                     Pentagon a combined land, naval and air strength
                     about 100,000.

                      11 January 2003: Blair warns America of Muslim backlash over
                      war on Iraq

                      10 January 2003: Blair calls for time over Iraq as 'no smoking
                      guns' reported

                      7 January 2003: Mobilisation statement today as paras get set
                      for desert war

                      9 January 2003: Britain urges US to delay war until autumn

                      12 August 2002: Attack on Iraq rejected by 2 in 3 voters

                      9 August 2002: Secret poll on US war plans worries Blair

                      22 July 2002: Emergency talks over Labour's £8m debts

     Blairs are invited to private Mass with
                     the Pope
                     By Bruce Johnston in Rome
                     (Filed: 24/02/2003)

                     The Pope took the unusual step of inviting Tony and
                     Cherie Blair to a private Mass in the Vatican yesterday, a
                     move that marks Mrs Blair's entry into the ranks of
                     Britain's most influential Roman Catholics.

                     The invitation to the service, conducted by  the 82-year-old Pontiff in  the presence of the Blairs and four  seminarians, surprised observers on the final day of a secretive weekend visit to Rome  by the Prime Minister, his wife and some of their children.

                     It is the first time that a serving British prime minister has
                     attended a private Mass with the Pope. The honour is
                     rarely granted to political figures, and they are usually

                     The Mass took place in the Vatican at 7.30am yesterday.

                     The family spent considerably more time in the Vatican
                     over the weekend than most VIP visitors would expect,
                     enjoying an audience with the Pope on Saturday. Their
                     stay also included tours of the papal city's museums and
                     the Sistine Chapel.

                     Downing Street has sought to play down the diplomatic
                     significance of the visit, which is believed to have been
                     arranged some time ago by Mrs Blair.

                     Nevertheless, the Pope used the audience on Saturday to
                     spell out his opposition to a war against Iraq, describing it
                     as morally unjust.

                     A source close to the Vatican said: "I don't think there is
                     any political message connected to Mr Blair in this
                     invitation, but rather a personal one that is full of respect
                     for the lady."

                      23 February 2003: Blair tells Pope: 'Only Saddam can stop the

                      19 February 2003: 'Holy Father understands war as a last resort'

                      19 February 2003: Prime Minister to meet Pope

                      15 February 2003: Aziz asks Pope to mediate for peace

                      26 December 2002: Pope urges end to war and 'spiral of

Blair to pledge 'last push for peace'
                     By George Jones, Political Editor
                     (Filed: 24/02/2003)

                     Tony Blair will seek to head off a substantial Labour
                     revolt over war with Iraq tomorrow by telling MPs
                     that he is embarking on a "last push for peace".

                     In a statement to Parliament,
                     he will say there is still a
                     window of opportunity for
                     Saddam Hussein to comply
                     with United Nations'
                     demands and disarm - before
                     force is used.

                     On Wednesday, the
                     Commons will hold what is
                     expected to be the last vote
                     before likely military action is
                     taken next month.

                     Labour opponents of war said last night they were
                     determined to use the occasion to register their
                     opposition to the use of force as they doubted
                     whether they would get another chance to vote until
                     after the troops had been sent in.

                     Wednesday's debate will be on a carefully worded
                     Government motion backing its efforts to disarm
                     Saddam through the UN. It will not refer to military
                     action, and ministers stressed that it should not be
                     seen as a vote on whether or not to go to war.

                     Between 50 and 100 Labour MPs are believed to be
                     ready to vote against the Government or abstain.
                     Labour critics and the Liberal Democrats hope to
                     table their own anti-war amendment, but they may
                     not be called by the Speaker, Michael Martin.

                     Clare Short, the International Development
                     Secretary, said yesterday said she could accept
                     "carefully targeted" military action against Iraq if it
                     was backed by the UN. She told GMTV's Sunday
                     Programme that although she was having "sleepless
                     nights" over the possibility of war, the Government
                     had to have the "stomach" to do what was right for
                     the Iraqi people.

                     Mr Blair will tell MPs that he has no desire for conflict,
                     and that his commitment to a second resolution
                     underlines his determination to exhaust every
                     means possible to deliver a peaceful outcome.

                     Downing Street made clear last night that the
                     diplomatic end game was in sight, with the second
                     UN resolution being tabled either today or tomorrow
                     and a final report from Hans Blix, the chief UN
                     weapons inspector, by next week at the latest.

                     Officials said it would set out in clear terms the
                     consequences of failure to disarm. Between it being
                     tabled and voted on by early to mid-March, Saddam
                     had a "window to go through".

                     British officials are concerned that the recent
                     wrangling in the UN Security Council has led Saddam
                     to believe that the international community is
                     divided, and that he can continue to "string the UN

                     John Major, prime minister during the 1991 Gulf war,
                     today gives warning that Saddam could try to create
                     "Armageddon" if he is attacked by Britain and

                     Writing in The Telegraph, he says the Iraqi leader,
                     believing that he had nothing to lose, could use
                     biological and chemical weapons against the
                     invading army, Saudi Arabia or Israel in a
                     forthcoming conflict.

                     He might also leave as his legacy a gift of weapons
                     of mass destruction to terror groups, so that they
                     might strike against America and its allies for years
                     to come.

                      22 February 2003: Blix's list of key questions could be trigger for

                      20 February 2003: Britons are told to leave Iraq

                      19 February 2003: Blair stakes his future on Iraq war

                      18 February 2003: Talk of war dents Blair's popularity

                      18 February 2003: Britain and US prepare final warning on war

                      25 January 2003: Blair braces the Cabinet for its toughest year

                      12 January 2003: You're losing the party over Iraq, Cabinet
                      warns Blair

                      21 November 2002: Straw fights revolt over vote on Iraq

Talk of war dents Blair's popularity
                     By Toby Helm, Chief Political Correspondent
                     (Filed: 18/02/2003)

                     Tony Blair has suffered a dramatic loss in popularity
                     since preparing for war on Iraq with his personal
                     rating sinking to minus 20 per cent, according to a

                     This means a drop since last month of 26 per cent.
                     The only consolation for Mr Blair is that Iain Duncan
                     Smith remains even more unpopular on minus 23 per

                     Charles Kennedy, the Lib-Dem leader, who has
                     criticised the Labour and Conservatives' policy on
                     Iraq, has a rating of plus 21 per cent.

                     The Guardian/ICM poll shows for the first time a
                     majority - 52 per cent - now oppose a war. Just 29
                     per cent support military action. [Local]

                     There is more bad news for Labour, whose lead over
                     the Conservatives has been cut by five points from
                     13 to eight per cent since last month.

                     Facing mounting criticism over Iraq, Mr Blair told
                     Labour delegates last week that leaders sometimes
                     had to accept unpopularity if they were to take the
                     right decisions for their countries.

                     The poll offered little satisfaction to the
                     Conservatives who rose only one per cent to 31 per
                     cent as Labour fell. The Liberal Democrats also
                     jumped one per cent to 22 per cent. Other parties
                     increased by four per cent.

                     In a similar poll conducted for the same newspaper
                     in December, Mr Blair's personal rating had fallen to
                     minus one - the first time it had reached negative
                     territory since the petrol crisis two years earlier.