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|Anti-War MPs Told to Shut Up
- Dire consequences hinted at for dissenters
LABOUR Party apparatchiks have issued a thinly veiled threat that MPs who question the government's war policy will face disciplinary action.
"Labour members and indeed all members of the House of Commons know what are the consequences of abandoning party policy," Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said in the wake of the furore over anti-war backbench MP Paul Marsden. Hoon also made the by now obligatory call for everyone to "unite behind the troops" - a cheap line which appears to mean, "don't question the war effort."
Marsden earlier revealed that Labour Chief Whip Hilary 'Strong Arm' Armstrong had compared Marsden with 1930s appeasers of Hitler and told him that war was not a 'matter of conscience' issue.
Marsden points out that the House of Commons has yet to take a vote on the bombing of Afghanistan and that at least six other backbenchers are against the war, but are fearful of the consequences of speaking out. Those six would represent less than one percent of the Commons, while polls indicate that nearly a quarter of British people are against the Afghan bombing campaign.