Speech en­shrined de­bate.. then war

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News - John Fer­gu­son

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

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