Tories also voted `yes' to war

ONCE again, the Conservatives are calling for a full inquiry “into the origins and conduct” of the Iraq War, which toppled Saddam Hussein five years' ago at a continuing cost of tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.

Graham Dines

ONCE again, the Conservatives are calling for a full inquiry “into the origins and conduct” of the Iraq War, which toppled Saddam Hussein five years' ago at a continuing cost of tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.

And once again, I point out that without the support of the Tories, Tony Blair could never have launched military action alongside George Bush.

Under then leader Iain Duncan Smith, all but a handful of Conservative MPs trooped through the division lobby to give Blair authority to send in the troops, warships, and the RAF to wage war against the approval of the United Nations.

The Tories can huff and puff as much as they like now, but they are as much to blame as Labour for what has since transpired in the Middle East. They were conned likewise at the claim that British assets could be attacked by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction within 30 minutes of them being fired as were Labour MPs.

Military operations in Afghanistan are perfectly legitimate, but “liberating” Iraq was a different ball game. Tory MPs such as John Gummer and Kenneth Clarke joined anti-war Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru and Scottish National Party MPs in refusing to support the war, only to be outvoted by Government loyalists and the official opposition.

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Now shadow foreign secretary William Hague wants a full inquiry by the Privy Council. Well, it makes a change from his ranting on about a referendum on the European “constitution.”

A previous Tory call for a full inquiry was defeated last June by a majority of 35 and the Commons rejected in 2006 an SNP-Plaid call for an inquiry.

CHELMSFORD West's Conservative MP Simon Burns cannot be accused of bowing to the inevitable. Even though he lost the fight to stop the closure of the town's Crown post office, he's still attacking the move of services to the second floor of WH Smith's.

“With only one small lift and an escalator that only goes in one direction, I felt that there would be access problems, particularly for the elderly and the disabled,” said Mr Burns.

“Many people, including myself, made representations to the Post Office about this but our views were disregarded as the post office ploughed ahead with their money saving scheme, regardless of the views of their customers.

“Unfortunately, our fears have been realised as many people have found accessibility to the second floor of WH Smith's a problem.” Backing calls for an access ramp and postal services to be provided on the ground floor, Mr Burns says something must be done for people who have difficulty coping with the current situation.”

Perhaps sending Royal Mail a copy of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as amended in 2004 would be a good starter for ten. It applies to “everyone who provides a service to the public, except the armed forces.”

THE UK Independence Party wants a crackdown on Euro MPs' “blatant fiddles” on expenses. A brave call, given that one of their number - the East of England's Tom Wise - is under investigation over alleged irregularities into his claims under the parliamentary assistance allowance (money for staff).

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