'This isn't about the normal argy-bargy of politics. It is about 13,000 civilian deaths'

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The longest-serving MP in the House of Commons called for Tony Blair to resign yesterday following the findings of the Butler report.

The longest-serving MP in the House of Commons called for Tony Blair to resign yesterday following the findings of the Butler report.

Tam Dalyell, the father of the House of Commons, yesterday urged the Prime Minster to "consider making way" for a new Labour party leader. He called for Tony Blair to step down and allow the Labour party to begin the "due processes" to choose a new leader.

In a stinging intervention, Mr Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow, implied that Mr Blair had become tired and should now stand aside.

"I think that the Prime Minister - 10 years of leadership of the Labour party is enough for any person - ought to consider making way in these circumstances, against the background of Butler, for someone else and set in motion the due processes of the party," he said.

Mr Dalyell also accused the Government of exaggerating the intelligence to bolster the case for war after the decision had been made to invade Iraq.

"The fact of the matter is that it was the policy objectives that drove the intelligence whereas it should have been the intelligence driving the policy directives. And the dossier was really part of a post-decision-making process," he said.

"The Prime Minister's statement on publication simply reinforced the impression that more authoritative intelligence existed. Iraq has become a war of liberation and I fear that, for many, we are the enemy."

He said that MPs could no longer "go on acting as if nothing has happened" in Iraq.

"We simply cannot have business as usual. Even if we wanted it, the daily news from Iraq wouldn't allow it," he said.

Alan Beith, Liberal Democrat member of the Joint Intelligence Committee, questioned claims from Mr Blair that there was a "nexus between terrorism and WMD".

He also said that Mr Blair "wrongly or insufficiently quoted" from the Butler report and "rested too much on very little evidence" to suggest there was a link between Iraq and terrorists before the war.

He also suggested that intelligence was used to back up a political decision to go to war.

"It's impossible to imagine the Prime Minister deciding not to participate when President Bush had decided to launch an invasion of Iraq. Can anyone seriously imagine him saying 'no, I cannot join in'?" he said. "Equally, it is impossible to imagine that the current threat to British interests which he perceived was such that he would have gone ahead if President Bush had decided not to. Can't imagine that either."

Alex Salmond, Scottish National Party MP for Banff and Buchan, said there was "deliberate deception at the heart of this process".

"We are expected to believe that at no stage did the Prime Minister examine the 45-minute claim. And at no stage did it ever occur to John Scarlett [chairman of the JIC] or anybody else that the withdrawal of sources for the WMD be reported to a politicians who were under examination by a variety of committees of this House," he said.

Mr Salmond questioned why Jack Straw did not reveal that crucial intelligence from M16 had been withdrawn. He accused Mr Blair of misleading MPs and the country by implying evidence showed Saddam Hussein was a clear threat.

"The Prime Minister kept trying to give the impression that there was this mass of evidence, only he could not disclose it and not jeopardise the source. If only we were able to see what he had seen then there would be absolutely no mistaking the case for war," he said. "The reality is that the evidence was at best fragmented, and the intelligence had nothing to do with the cause and reason for going to war.

The SNP MP accused Tony Blair of gambling with lives and paying a "blood price" in order to back up President Bush. He said: "The reason was to stay close. Shoulder to shoulder with America. To stay close and pay the blood price. This isn't about the normal argy bargy of politics. This is about 13,000 civilian deaths, many British soldiers dead, American casualties approaching 1,000. That is the blood price that is being paid. That is the blood price that the Prime Minister's actions have resulted in."

Marsha Singh, Labour MP for Bradford West, quoted from the front page of The Independent on 15 July, which summed up the Butler report.

"For those of us who opposed the war from the very beginning we didn't need the Butler report or the Hutton report. We knew quite simply that there was no imminent danger of attack to this country," he said. "We will never win the war on terror by waging war against Muslim countries. We have lost the trust of Muslims across the world and this is a heavy price for this country to pay."

He said that the ultimate responsibility for the war lay at the top of government and called for British troops to be recalled from Iraq. "This war hasn't made the world a safer place but immeasurably more dangerous," he said.

Andrew Mackay, Tory MP for Bracknell, said he felt "let down" by the Prime Minister because he had voted for the war. "I do feel that Parliament and the people have been misled."

He said he realised the Government had wanted to work with an ally as important the US but that sometimes a "close friend" should be able to say "you've got it wrong".

Malcolm Savidge, Labour MP for Aberdeen North, said the war on Iraq had probably made the UK a more likely target for terrorists. "Iraq was a hideous tyranny but was not associated with al-Qa'ida. There is a risk it could degenerate into precisely the sort of anarchy where terrorism could thrive," he said. He added that there was a need for a "more collective and more informed Cabinet Government".

He said he respected the Prime Minister's strong convictions but that he misled Parliament and the people into war.

"Last week he said he took full personal responsibility. I hope, for the sake of his own reputation, for the sake of the Labour Party, for the sake of the British Parliament and the British people, that he considers very carefully the full implications of his own words," he said.

Michael Meacher, former Labour Environment Minister, who supported the war, said he was "deeply uneasy" there was no international criteria that gave legitimacy to the action.

"The US went to war over Iraq both because of oil and for reasons of American control of the Middle East region. That war was planned from the very first day of the Bush administration. The events of 11 September then provided the pretext for that intervention. President Bush wanted British support," he said.

Clare Short, the former International Development Secretary, questioned why the UN weapons inspectors were not given more time. She said: "Surely the point us for all of us which supported [UN resolution] 1441 was not just that there was a generalised sense that the regime was trying to acquire WMD and the means of delivery, but there was some threat that was so urgent that we couldn't allow [Hans] Blix to complete his job thus dividing the international community with all the consequences that occurred. Where did he get that information? Why wasn't Mr Blix allowed enough time? Butler doesn't suggest there was any reason for that judgement."

Mr Short accused Mr Blair of throwing away "the possibility of united international action on the request for automaticity. That is the reality of the situation."

Harry Cohen, Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead, called for the resignation of the head and deputy head of defence intelligence after they failed to show crucial new intelligence to Dr Brian Jones, the senior analyst who raised serious concerns about the dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

He said: "That responsibility falls to the head of defence intelligence services and his deputy who presumably did see [the dossier]. That information has since been withdrawn, so shouldn't that head of defence intelligence services and his deputy resign?"

William Hague, former leader of the Tory Party, seized on Lord Butler's observations about the informal way Mr Blair took key decisions and warned it could lead to an erosion of accountability. "Informality can mean lack of rigour and the blurring of the line between officials and political advisers can lead to mistakes.

Peter Kilfoyle, former Labour defence minister, said the argument about WMD was "a fallacious argument that should never had been made".

VOICES IN THE COMMONS

By invading Iraq we have responded in precisely the way Bin Laden wanted. We and the West will have to live with the violent consequences of this strategic blunder.

Robin Cook, Labour, former foreign secretary

I think that, after 10 years, the Prime Minister really ought to consider making way in these circumstances, against the background of Butler, for someone else.

Tam Dalyell, Labour, Father of the House

We will never win the war on terror by waging war against Muslim countries. We have lost the trust of Muslims across the world and this is a heavy price for this country to pay.

Marsha Singh, Labour MP for Bradford West

You cannot picture most ministers being told by their officials that lunch would be ready in 45 minutes without asking questions about the menu and who it would be delivered by.

William Hague, former Conservative leader

It is impossible to seriously imagine the Prime Minister saying, when President Bush had decided to launch an invasion of Iraq, 'No, I dissent. I cannot join in'.

Alan Beith, Liberal Democrat member of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee

13,000 civilian deaths, many British soldiers dead, American casualties approaching 1,000. That is the blood price that the Prime Minister's actions have resulted in.

Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP in the Commons

What was so urgent that we couldn't allow Blix to complete his job ... Why wasn't Blix allowed enough time? Butler doesn't suggest there was any reason for that judgement

Clare Short, former International Development Secretary

If no action had been taken, Saddam Hussein would still be continuing, as the Butler committee concluded, his strategic intent to pursue a banned weapons programme.

Donald Anderson, Labour, Foreign Affairs Select Committee chairman

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