British Prime Minister Tony Blair may be first victim of war against Iraq

Published August 28th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Tony Blair’s support for U.S. President Bush on the issue of an American war against Iraq has cost him the support of his party. A new opinion poll of members in the British Prime Minister’s labour party shows that a majority of Labour voters - 52% - believe that he should not support American policy on Iraq. Similar disapproval is also voiced by voters of the opposition Conservative party. 


The poll, conducted by the British Guardian newspaper, warns that “Tony Blair faces acute political embarrassment from damaging defeats over Iraq at next month's TUC and Labour conferences after the results of the latest Guardian/ICM poll disclosed sharply rising opposition among Labour voters to American military action.” The poll showed a clear majority - 52% - say that Mr. Bush's policy towards Iraq is on the wrong lines and the same proportion - 52% - say that Tony Blair should not support American policy on Iraq.  


Disapproval of the US president and his policy marks a major shift in public opinion in the United Kingdom - in the wake of the September 11 attacks more than 76% of British voters had told ICM that they thought George Bush was doing a good job. Only one in five voters - 21% - say that they believe both that Mr. Bush's Iraqi policy is right and Mr. Blair should support him. Surprisingly, 4% say the Americans are wrong, but that Britain should support them anyway.  


The rejection of a war against Iraq by British public opinion is not limited to the left-wing Labour members. Conservative party voters also expressed a similar level of disapproval - 49% of the Conservative voters said Mr. Bush was "on the wrong lines" when it comes to Iraq. Only a third of these voters support an attack on Iraq, which the Guardian surveyors believe explains why leading members of the party such as Lord Hurd and John Gummer have started to publicly express opposition. On the more left-wing spectrum of the British public, Liberal Democrat voters object hardest to a war against Iraq, with 66% opposed to American policy.  


ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,003 adults over 18 by telephone between August 23 and August 25, 2002. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults (

© 2002 Al Bawaba (

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