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Blair Survives Vote on Iraq War Inquiry
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On Tuesday British Prime Minister Tony Blair narrowly survived a vote in the House of Commons tabled by nationalist parties demanding an immediate investigation into the Iraq war.

Lawmakers rejected by 298 votes to 273 - a majority of 25 - a motion put forward by the minority Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties demanding a probe into the handling of the Iraq war and its aftermath by a committee of senior MPs.

Blair has resisted calls for an inquiry saying it would be a betrayal of the troops in action in Iraq.

In a heated debate ahead of the vote British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett warned that it was "not the time" for an inquiry into Iraq as such a move would send the wrong signals to insurgents and undermine the morale of UK troops. 

She urged MPs to remember that "our words ... will be heard a very long way away. They can be heard by our troops who are already in great danger in Iraq".

Beckett declined calls for a commitment to hold an inquiry once British troops had left Iraq.

"It's perfectly sensible and legitimate to say that there will come a time when these issues will be explored in the round and in full so that we can learn whatever lessons we can from them," Beckett said.

Britain has 7,200 troops in southern Iraq most of them in the Basra area and about 800 in Maysan province. The death toll of British troops in Iraq has risen to 120 since March 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2006)


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