British parliament approves participation of troops in Iraq war
Tony Blair won the backing of more than half the parliamentary Labour party in Tuesday night's vote on the rebel amendment against war.
Preliminary calculations suggested 247 of the 410 Labour MPs voted to support the prime minister and reject the rebel motion.
But while government ranks largely held firm, just over half of Labour's backbenchers voted against Blair in a serious blow to his authority. Including those who did not vote on the crucial motion, more than 160 Labour MPs defied the three-line whip ordering them to vote for war.
The 138 who voted against the prime minister set a record as the biggest rebellion in parliamentary history. The Labour anti-war vote was reinforced by 53 Liberal Democrats, 15 rebel Conservative MPs and 11 Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland nationalists. Another Labour MP and Conservative acted as tellers for the rebels.
After the vote, British troops amassing in Kuwait were preparing for a battle which could now be just hours away. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)