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Monday, 16 July 2007

Pull troops out now and stand up to Bush, inquiry tells Brown

British troops should be pulled out of Iraq even though the violence is likely to get worse, a cross-party commission has told Gordon Brown.

The commission co-chaired by Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, called for an end to offensive military operations by British forces and a “clear exit strategy”.

The findings stepped up the pressure on the Prime Minister to seek a change of policy on Iraq at his forthcoming summit with President Bush. The report said the UK should “actively and urgently … pursue changes of policy from our allies”.

Mr Bush rejected a vote by Democrats in the House of Representatives last week for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by April next year. But Lord Ashdown, who turned down a post in Mr Brown’s Cabinet, warned that delaying withdrawal until the US “surge” in Iraq has reduced violence would hand the initiative to the insurgents. Read the rest