Alex Salmond joins bid to have Tony Blair impeached

  Alex Salmond                         Tony Blair

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Scottish Nationalist MP Alex Salmond has joined forces with Welsh Nationalists and two Conservatives MPs in an attempt to impeach Tony Blair claiming he mislead the country over the case for war with Iraq. The ancient procedure has not been used in Britain for more than 150 years. But Mr. Salmond, who is the favourite in his party's leadership contest, denies the move is simply a political stunt.

The attempt to use an ancient procedure to bring the Prime Minister to trial by Parliament over the reasons for the war in Iraq is a bold move. A 99 page report drawn up by two leading academics, details four "impeachable offences" under which Tony Blair could be charged: misleading Parliament and the country and failing to resign in consequence, negligence and incompetence, undermining the constitution and entering into a secret agreement with the President of the United States regarding the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Alex Salmond said: "It's quite clear that the Prime Minister misled, dissembled, he lied, to both Parliament and the country. Now you can't have a situation where any Minister, never mind the senior Minister, lies to the House of Commons, lies to the country, and gets away with it. And the only remedy left available is to reactivate the ancient process of impeachment and put the blame squarely and fairly where it lies."

Impeachment has not been used in Britain for more than 150 years, but the United States has more recent experience of what a devastating political weapon it can be. While Clinton was not forced out, for President Nixon, the threat of impeachment was enough to send him on his way.

This attempt to oust Tony Blair claims to have the backing of 11 MPs. But to succeed, it would require a vote in support of impeachment in the Commons, where Labour has an overwhelming majority.

Frank Doran MP, Labour member for Aberdeen Central, said: "It's an awful serious issue that they're dealing with, and I think they're dealing with it in a very flippant way. Impeachment is something which has been reserved for the most serious and heinous of crimes, and I think they're trivialising it. It seems to me very much like a gimmick or a stunt."

The Prime Minister's office has refused to comment on today's move.


British Lawmaker Calls for Blair's Impeachment

Aug 26, 2004
A British lawmaker is using an obscure parliamentary rule to try to impeach Prime Minister Tony Blair for misleading citizens over Britain's involvement in the Iraq war.
Adam Price, a member of the Welsh Plaid Cymru party, said Thursday he plans to revive the "Principle of Ministerial Accountability," last used more than 150 years ago.

Mr. Price is backing his claims with a 99-page report, that he says details how Mr. Blair was less than honest when he insisted that last year's invasion of Iraq was essential for dealing with Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Coalition forces never found such weapons in Iraq.

For impeachment, Mr. Price needs the approval of the House of Commons. This is not likely, as Mr. Blair's Labor Party holds a large majority there.

This article uses material from VOA.


LONDON: Eleven British lawmakers have announced to launch impeachment move against Prime Minister Tony Blair, reviving a near-extinct rule to argue that he misled his country in order to join the US-led invasion of Iraq.

A Welsh nationalist member of parliament, Adam Price, unveiled a 99-page report entitled "A Case to Answer" which charged Blair with lying about Iraqi weapons to justify war, and set out the legal case for impeachment.

He maintained that Tony Blair has misled Britain time and again and it is the duty of members of parliament to hold the prime minister to account and restore the people's faith in the democratic process.

Price said 11 opposition lawmakers had signed on, and he had received interest from some in Blair's Labour Party which has a majority in the lower House of Commons.

Further details regarding the impeachment move would be unveiled in a press conference by the group.



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