Straw admits that allies' failure to keep accurate record of civilian deaths is 'odd'

The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, yesterday admitted that it was "odd" that there were no consistent records of the numbers of Iraqis killed since the end of the war in Iraq.

The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, yesterday admitted it was "odd" that there were no consistent records of the number of Iraqis killed since the end of the war in Iraq.

The Independent revealed on Monday that no accurate records of the Iraqi dead ­ regarded as a measure of the misery in post-war Iraq ­ were being kept by the coalition.

Challenged over the report, Mr Straw conceded on BBC radio it was "odd" but said it was very difficult to keep count of the Iraqi dead. Britain estimated about 10,000 had died, including those killed in the war. Ministers are now expected to order better records to be kept in the UK sector of Iraq, following pressure from Labour MPs and Amnesty International.

Mr Straw added: "It is worth pointing out that almost all of those who have lost their lives have been terrorists or insurgents seeking to disrupt the work of the coalition to build a representative, democratic Iraq or tragically they have been caught in the crossfire."

British ministers are preparing to announce plans, expected next week, to send more than 3,000 British troops to Iraq.

Last night the Conservative leader Michael Howard disclosed he will back Labour rebels in demanding a vote in the Commons before more troops are deployed in flashpoint areas such as Fallujah.

The combined votes of the Tories, Labour rebels and Liberal Democrat MPs would threaten the Government with a disastrous defeat on Iraq.

Mr Howard told The Independent: "If it is a simple question of sending more British troops to the multi-national operation which I visited before Christmas, where British troops are now, I don't think there is a case for a fresh vote.

"If, on the other hand, the proposal is to send British troops to a different area under American command then I would support the argument which says that would be different from what they are doing now, and therefore there ought to be a fresh vote."

Downing Street said yesterday the deployment of more troops, which is expected to be announced next week, will be presented as part of the new exit strategy being negotiated between President George W Bush and Mr Blair.

Downing Street was criticised last night by former Cabinet ministers for sending out more conflicting signals over the speed of its exit after Mr Blair, in Turkey on Monday, appeared to repudiate No 10's briefing at the weekend that it was being accelerated. Yesterday, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said the coalition was "in full throttle'' in preparing for the hand over of security and diplomatic responsibility to the Iraqis.

"We are pushing as fast as we can go to make sure that the transfer of sovereignty on 1 July is real and that the process of Iraqi-isation to give the Iraqis responsibility for their own security is as fast as is consistent with maintaining the security level that's necessary to sustain that development of democracy," he said.

* A former Royal Marine has been shot dead in Iraq while working as a private contractor. Brian Tilley, 47, was killed on Friday after a gunman reportedly walked into the house where he was staying and opened fire. He had been due home on Wednesday.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste