Yorkshire MPs who opposed war regret lack of wider support

FORMER Selby MP John Grogan has argued Tony Blair's cabinet should have done more to question the rush to war in Iraq.Mr Grogan was one of a number of Yorkshire Labour MPs who voted against the war in defiance of the then prime minister in 2003,

Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 6:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 7:47 pm
Jeremy Corbyn (back left) listens as Robin Cook (centre) makes his resignation speech in the House of Commons. Corbyn has condemned the decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 as an "act of military aggression launched on a false pretext".

Then Leader of the Commons Robin Cook resigned over the matter and Mr Grogan suggested other members of the Cabinet at the time should have asked more questions.

Mr Grogan said: “On the night before the Iraq vote I recall Robin Cook clearly setting out in his resignation speech that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and that there were other options than going to war.

“The Cabinet at the time bears a heavy responsibility for not following his lead and questioning the rush to conflict.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“A basic examination of the history of Iraq and previous British involvement in the Middle East should have led to a more cautious approach.”

Former Keighley MP Ann Cryer admitted at the time she had endured sleepless nights over opposing the Government but insisted she had always been confident of her decision.

She said: “I was completely convinced I was right and as things have unravelled over the months and years we don’t need any further proof.

“It was a tremendously hard time, I am not an automatic oppositionist. I thought carefully and long and hard about that decision.”

Mrs Cryer added: “I am just sorry I wasn’t, and my friends weren’t able to persuade the prime minister he was going down the wrong road.”