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Mole and Gummer back rebel amendment

PUBLISHED: 00:11 27 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole last night risked severe consequences to his parliamentary career when he defied the Government and voted for the rebel amendment that war with Iraq "is not justified.

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole last night risked severe consequences to his parliamentary career when he defied the Government and voted for the rebel amendment that war with Iraq “is not justified.”

Mr Mole, who had signed the motion put down by an all-party group of privy councillors and backbench MPs, was summoned to a meeting with Chief Whip Hilary Armstrong after lunch.

“We had a reasonable discussion on the consequences of my voting for a motion that did not have the support of the Government,” said Mr Mole, who has been an MP for less than 18 months.

“But I agree with the sentiment that the case for military action has not been justified and that is why I voted the way I did. I am not against the use of military action where there is a credible threat but that has yet to be proved.”

By supporting the amendment, Mr Mole could well have put off for some time any chance of joining the ranks of Government, which usually start by being appointed an unpaid parliamentary private secretary.

Also voting for the amendment was one of East Anglia's most senior MPs, Suffolk Coastal's Conservative John Gummer, who argued that that the case for war had yet to be proven and the British people remained to be convinced.

“I do not think there is anybody in this House who does not know that this war is war by timetable and the timetable was laid down before the US had any intention of going to the United Nations.”

He said afterwards: “It is a statement of fact that the public and the world are unconvinced. We have to consider if this is a just war – impatience with Saddam is not a good reason for going to war.”

After the amendment was defeated, both MPs then backed the Government's substantive motion which supported Tony Blair's continuing efforts to disarm Iraq and reaffirmed the endorsement of UN resolution 1441.


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