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|Blair's Short Step to War
- Minister stays on board as battle countdown begins
TONY BLAIR received an eve-of-war boost today when the previously anti-war minister Clare Short decided to side with the government and stay in the cabinet.
Last week Short, who has been something of a darling of Labour's left wing for years, called Blair's handling of the Iraq crisis, "reckless" and said she would resign her post as International Development Secretary if Britain went to war without explicit backing from the UN.
Short's change of mind means that the Prime Minister can now go into today's House of Commons vote on the war with the hope that any rebellion from his own party will not grow much beyond the 122 MPs who voted against war a fortnight ago.
Last night Leader of the House and former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook received a rare standing ovation from Labour backbenchers after his anti-war resignation speech, but Blair aides were quick to point out that Cook also called the Prime Minister, "the best Labour Prime Minister of my lifetime."
Meanwhile, London police are on alert for terrorist activity as war in Iraq draws near and after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein said he will take the battle to the enemy wherever it was in the world. Some analysts believe the next couple of days could be Hussein's best chance of unleashing such an attack.