Labour MPs say Cook was two-faced on Iraq

Click to follow
TONY BLAIR flew back to Britain from the US yesterday to face a new internal row as Labour MPs accused the Foreign Secretary of sounding more hawkish in public than he was in private discussions with them.

Crucial support for military action against Iraq came from Germany, which said yesterday that it would allow the US to use its bases for air strikes if necessary, but at home Mr Cook was under fire.

Tam Dalyell MP, who is a critic of the Gulf build-up, said that Labour backbenchers who saw Robin Cook last week just after his Commons statement on Iraq found him to be reassuringly"emollient", but his public attitude did not square with this. While Mr Cook "may well have doubts" about military action, said Mr Dalyell: "He's in a very weak position, entirely beholden to the Prime Minister ... I now feel that I just don't know this Foreign Secretary."

Mr Blair yesterday continued to heighten the rhetoric against Iraq, while trying to prepare the public for the likelihood of conflict.

In a joint radio broadcast with Bill Clinton, he pledged: "The United States and Britain are determined to prevent Saddam Hussein from threatening the world with weapons of mass destruction."

t Iraq crisis, pages 14 and 15; White House love-in, page 21; Leading article, Section 2, page 4