Sixth Aide Resigns Over Iraq

Thursday, 20 March 2003 06:27 by: Anonymous
The Guardian

Wednesday 19 March 2003

A sixth ministerial aide today confirmed he had quit the government over the Iraq crisis, saying he did not think there was sufficient international backing for a war.

David Kidney, MP for Stafford and a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) at the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said he had resigned last night after he voted for the rebel amendment.

"I did not think that we had exhausted the United Nations' route and I did not think there was sufficiently-wide international support to fight a war," he said.

His resignation makes him the ninth member of the government to leave over Iraq.

Those who have quit include one member of the cabinet, Robin Cook, who left his job as leader of the House of Commons on Monday, and ministers John Denham and Lord Hunt.

Mr Kidney is the second ministerial aide to resign from Defra over Iraq - Andy Reed, the MP for Loughborough, and PPS to Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, quit last week.

Mr Kidney emphasised his loyalty to Tony Blair, saying, "I have a lot of time for Tony Blair and I think that his judgment is usually extraordinarily good. I just disagree with him on this one issue."

Mr Kidney was one of a total of 139 Labour MPs - plus one teller - who backed a rebel amendment calling for more time for weapons inspections, outstripping the 121 Labour backbenchers who voted against the government in the last Iraq debate nearly a month ago.

He abstained from the main government motion authorising the use of "all necessary means" to strip Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Kidney is a former solicitor. Aged 47, and married with two children, he was elected MP for Stafford in 1997.

He is a member of the Commons modernisation select committee.

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