Gordon Brown: Military threat not reason I back Iraq war

Gordon Brown has insisted the military threat posed by Saddam Hussein was not the reason he backed the invasion of Iraq.

The Prime Minister said the issue had been the dictator's failure to comply with UN resolutions, rather than whether he physically had weapons of mass destruction.

The comments came in an interview with Tribune magazine, and give an indication of how Mr Brown intends to approach his forthcoming testimony to the Iraq Inquiry.

"For me, the issue was all the time Iraq's obligations to the international community," the premier said.

"The evidence that was given to us was that there were weapons and that was the finding of a number of people, but for me the reason for intervention was always the breach of international obligations by the Iraqi government."

He went on: "If Saddam Hussein had signed up to international commitments to disclose everything about munitions to the international community and didn't do it and then failed to respond properly, then the United Nations itself and collective action by the world community itself was put at risk, so for me that was the issue."

Mr Brown was referring to the series of resolutions instructing Iraq to disclose details of its weapons stocks that were passed by the UN between the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and 2002.

The final resolution, 1441, offered Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations", and has been taken as the legal basis on which the invasion was launched.