IDS attacks Blair on Dr Kelly and Iraq planning

Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has called for Tony Blair to resign.

Mr Duncan Smith has launched a new offensive on the Labour leader as new troops are sent to Iraq, demanding a resignation over the Hutton inquiry and criticising planning over Iraq.

Geoff Hoon yesterday announced that troops from the 2nd Battalion The Light Infantry and the 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets, will be sent to Iraq to bolster security there. This triggered Conservative claims that planning on Iraq was ‘in chaos’.

The Conservative party leadership backed UK involvement in the Iraq war, but have taken the new deployment as an opportunity to reverse support for the Government and attack the cabinet.

Mr Straw defended the Government and argued that focused terrorists within Iraq had targeted the growing role of the United Nations. He further claimed that security problems were not a result of inadequate planning.

It is not expected that yesterday’s deployment will be the last. The MoD continues to keep the Iraq situation under review, and has indicated that more troops will be made available if they are needed. However, future deployments may be affected by ongoing talks at the United Nations that could see more countries willing to send troops.

While visiting Brent, Mr Duncan Smith attacked Tony Blair over the Hutton inquiry. Brent is the battleground for a by election later this month, and is believed to be an indicator of public support for the Government.

The opposition leader suggested that any involvement in the treatment of Dr Kelly would mean the Prime Minister ‘is not fit to govern’.

Iain Duncan Smith had been criticised recently for not gaining enough ground over the war in Iraq and the Hutton Inquiry. His hands may have been tied somewhat by his support for the American led war.

But a poll in the Times newspaper yesterday further illustrated the problem for the Conservative leadership. It indicated Labour had extended its lead over both opposition parties despite revelations from the Hutton inquiry and several high profile stories about problems in Iraq.