LIBERAL DEMOCRATS & IRAQ – 13 November 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: While we are talking about inflammatory and infantile contributions, does the right hon. Gentleman [Charles Kennedy] care to retract his remark at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference, when he said, regarding what America has had to face over the past year, that there is “more than a hint of imperialism” in America's actions in respect of Iraq? Does he stand by that, or does he withdraw it?

[Mr Kennedy: I certainly did say that there was more than a hint of imperialism, because my speech was delivered the day after Mr Rumsfeld made a speech in which he referred to the "decapitation" of Iraq. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman thinks that that is the sort of language that the US Defence Secretary should be using in such a dangerous situation, but some of us involved in politics in this country believe that we are right to point out the dangers of that approach.]