Blair: Renewed calls from the back benches for him to go

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Tony Blair faced renewed calls to resign yesterday after the Iraq Survey Group report confirmed that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction when the Prime Minster ordered British troops to war.

Tony Blair faced renewed calls to resign yesterday after the Iraq Survey Group report confirmed that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction when the Prime Minster ordered British troops to war.

Mr Blair will be under pressure from angry Labour MPs to make a statement to Parliament next week about the report. The MPs said last night that they were misled by the Government into voting in favour of military action against Iraq.

They also warned Mr Blair that he could face a leadership challenge if he attempted to fulfil his promise to hold on to power until the end of a third term. One MP said: "We haven't got the numbers for a challenge at the moment but that could change if he clings to power too long. He has another three years, at the maximum."

Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, who resigned over the war, said the report "does rather destroy the basis on which the war was made".

He feared the US would mount renewed attacks against Fallujah in Iraq, where it is believed the British hostage Kenneth Bigley is being held, if President George Bush won another term in office.

"I think that will be another colossal mistake," Mr Cook said. "We are never going to achieve support from the Iraqi people by heavy-handed military tactics - it simply breeds more resistance and more violence.

"I think the most important thing for Tony Blair, and indeed for our own general election, is to get across to Bush that if we once again embark on the heavy-handed military assaults against Iraqi towns we are going to set Iraq alight. We are going to breed resistance across the whole of Iraq. That is not the way we are going to achieve the democratic, peaceful Iraq we want."

Mr Blair, in Sudan, appealed for the "fullness" of the report to be analysed - rather than only one aspect of it.

Last week, the Prime Minister prepared public opinion for the negative findings of the report, but he refused to apologise for the conflict. "I can apologise for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can't, sincerely at least, apologise for removing Saddam," he said.

Alan Simpson, a leading member of Labour Against the War, urged Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, to refer Britain and the US to the international court to consider action for war crimes. He said: "The tragedy is, Iraq is a country littered with innocent lives, buried under organised lies. There is no point saying the transgressors should be held responsible under international law unless it applies equally to ourselves."

Robert Marshall-Andrews, another anti-war Labour MP, said: "It is a defining moment for the Labour Party. I think there is a deep neurosis in the party about Iraq and this report will increase it. There is only one way to remove that problem, and that is to remove the Prime Minister."

At the Tory Party conference, Conservative leaders lined up to condemn Mr Blair, warning that he had lost the trust of the British people over the war in Iraq.

Michael Ancram, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said Mr Blair was "untruthful, untrustworthy and unrepentant".

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