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Remember the wives left behind - Russell

PUBLISHED: 09:03 17 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:18 24 February 2010

EAST Anglia's Liberal Democrats were reminded on Saturday that thousands of the region's troops would be in the frontline of any war with Iraq and the party must support the families of those sent to fight Saddam Hussein.

EAST Anglia's Liberal Democrats were reminded on Saturday that thousands of the region's troops would be in the frontline of any war with Iraq and the party must support the families of those sent to fight Saddam Hussein.

Meeting at Colchester Institute, the East of England regional conference of the Liberal Democrats passed an emergency resolution asserting that at present "there are no sufficient grounds for an attack on Iraq by the United States or the United Kingdom."

More than 300 delegates called on the Government to allow the United Nations inspection team in Iraq "enough time and resources to do its job".

Colchester MP Bob Russell insisted that neither the party nor its leader Charles Kennedy – who joined the massive peace demonstration in London on Saturday – were appeasers.

But no matter how strong the desire for a peaceful resolution, the party had to recognise that East Anglia's military personnel would be heavily involved in any invasion and fighting.

"We are meeting in, and I represent, a garrison town, home of the 16th Assault Brigade. We must remember that they are in the front line and we must never forget that they will be leaving behind their loved ones in this town.

"I believe passionately that we should follow the United Nations route in our dealings with Saddam Hussein. But if we go to war, I shall be fully behind the Colchester troops and their families."

The region's Euro MP Andrew Duff said he feared the desire of both the US and UK to topple Saddam was splitting the European Union and NATO.

He added: "If this conference had not been taking place, I would have joined the march in London. I am no pacifist but the Government is taking us down a dangerous road and I am fearful of the outcome." 


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