over 100 uk mps to rebel against iraq war

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    London, Feb 22, IRNA -- Over 100 Labour MPs are expected to
    demonstrate their opposition to a war against Iraq by refusing to
    support next week's substantive motion in parliament on the British
    government's policy.
    But Prime Minister Tony Blair is still expected to win the vote
    even though Liberal Democrats, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists and a
    handful of Conservatives are also likely to abstain or oppose the
    Next Wednesday's vote, announced by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
    on Friday, is the first on the Iraq crisis since last November, when
    85 MPs, including 32 Labour representatives, rebelled against the
    But according to anti-war campaigners, opposition to the war has
    spread and includes not just the usual left-wing MPs and pacifists
    but numbers of mainstream politicians.
    "It is going to prove a huge embarrassment for Mr. Blair having
    to depend upon the Conservatives to win support for the war," a
    spokesman for Stop the War Coalition told IRNA.
    Calculations are that up to 200 of the 659 MPs in the House of
    Commons are likely to rebel against the motion by abstaining or
    voting against.
    The number includes the 53 Liberal Democrats, nine Scottish and
    Welsh Nationalists and perhaps two dozen others, including some
    "Support from the majority of the 153 Conservative MPs is crucial;
    if they voted against, the government would be defeated," the
    spokesman said.
    An Early Day Motion to parliament last week, setting four
    preconditions for a war to be met, including an explicit second UN
    resolution and exhausting all other options, received all-party
    support from 120 MPs.
    A separate petition criticizing the government for not seeking
    prior approval from the House of Commons for military action was
    signed by 75 MPs.
    One of the major concerns emerging is on the effect of the morale
    of British troops being sent into action without public support as
    was demonstrated by the 1.5 million people who joined last weekend's
    biggest-ever peace rally in London.
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