New Forest East

TERRORISM – LIB-DEMS & IRAQ – 7 March 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: Does the hon. Gentleman [David Laws] accept that Saddam Hussein has for some years defied the requirements of the international community that he open his territory for inspection, and that the reason for those requirements is the belief that he is trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction? Is he saying that it is Liberal Democrat policy that if adequate evidence emerges that Saddam Hussein is acquiring weapons of mass destruction, we should do nothing to stop it?

[David Laws: On terrorism, the hon. Gentleman is well aware that no information available so far links Iraq to the 11 September events. My party takes extremely seriously the prospects of all countries that do not currently have nuclear weapons acquiring them, and we hope that the current situation can be used to give us the leverage necessary to get inspectors back into Iraq, so that we can find out whether such weapons are being accumulated. That would be our preference over short-term measures that use military action without first going down those paths.]