Labour MPs given doorstep war guide

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Indy Politics

Labour MPs and party workers are being issued with a campaign guide to answering difficult questions about the war in Iraq.

Labour MPs and party workers are being issued with a campaign guide to answering difficult questions about the war in Iraq.

The briefing pack says canvassers may be asked such questions on voters' doorsteps as: "Isn't Blair just Bush's poodle?", to which the approved answer is: "No. Tony Blair has opposed President Bush on the Kyoto treaty and has pushed the US on the Middle East peace process."

The pack avoids questions about the legality of the war, saying: "We are where we are."

These are some of the questions and answers it suggests:

Q: Why are we backing the Americans in Iraq?

A: We aren't. We are backing the Iraqi people.

Q: But we should not have gone into Iraq in the first place.

A: You might be right. Many Labour members agree with you. Many believe that questions still need to be asked about the intelligence and the decision to go to war ... The last thing the Iraqi people need is for us to cut and run now."

Q: What about Abu Ghraib and the abuse of Iraqi prisoners?

A: The US interrogators' treatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib was a disgrace and the culprits must be prosecuted.

One anti-war Labour MP, who has been given the briefing pack, said: "[The answers] are unconvincing and a means to avoid real discussion in exchange for a line which can be parroted."

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