Comment by Gavin Strang for the Musselburgh News

‘Nobody doubts that the Iraqi regime is guilty of atrocities. We have been reminded of the war between Iraq and Iran and the use of chemical weapons supplied by companies based in the West. Nor do we forget the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in Northern Iraq. And it is true that the United Nations first addressed Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in the immediate aftermath of the last gulf war 12 years ago.

‘However, war means death and injury to military and civilians, and must always be the last resort after all other options have been exhausted.

‘It is my view that the weapons inspection process set in place by UN Security Council Resolution 1441 last November remained an alternative to war that was far from exhausted. The weapons inspections were making progress, and should have been pursued until they concluded successfully or until it became clear that they could not work.

‘For this reason I voted in the House of Commons for the amendment that the case for war against Iraq has not yet been established, and against the motion endorsing military action.

‘I should make it clear, however, that I yield to no one in my admiration and support for British servicemen and servicewomen. I can only hope that the military action will be carried out with minimal casualties on all sides.’