Speech enshrined debate.. then war
Robin Cook’s blistering speech of resignation before the Iraq war established the convention of Parliament voting on British military action.
The former foreign secretary and leader of the House of Commons, who died in 2005, received a standing ovation after trashing the case for intervention in the Middle East and demanding Parliament be given a say.
The ex-MP for Livingston’s tombstone states: “I may not have succeeded in halting the war but I did secure the right of Parliament to decide on war.”
Yesterday Labour MSP Neil Findlay lashed PM Theresa May for turning her back on the tradition set by Cook.
He said: “Assad is a monstrous figure, but yet more bombs falling on an already obliterated country is unlikely to resolve the conflict. “Robin Cook’s legacy established the principle of parliamentary authority for military action and his speech on Iraq should be read by many of the politicians of today.
“May and her government should listen to his speech and learn from it.”
Cook resigned in 2003 after months of debate over the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He famously told the House: “From the start of the present crisis, I have insisted, as Leader of the House, on the right of this place to vote on whether Britain should
go to war.”
REVERED Robin Cook
FITTING EPITAPH Words on Robin Cook’s tombstone