Reporting

Thousands of signatures against Iraq war on petitions handed to Cambridge MP

Second petition handed to Anne Campbell, MP.

by Stephen Hewitt

Seven people and a pram outside a doorway in city street
: Stuart Hemsley, Cambridge City Councillor John Hipkin and others at Alex Wood Hall after presenting a petition opposing military strikes on Iraq to Cambridge MP Anne Campbell. (Openstreetmap marker)

In the morning of a petition against military strikes on Iraq with over 3,200 signatures was presented to Cambridge MP Anne Campbell.

Around half a dozen people from Cambridge peace campaign group Campeace met the MP at 11:00 at Alex Wood Hall. They included Stuart Hemsley and Cambridge Councillor John Hipkin.

The petition was addressed to the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. A earlier petition with 2,222 signatures addressed to Anne Campbell herself, had been given to her on .

Hundreds of signatures were collected from members of the public passing Campeace's table in the central market square of Cambridge on Saturdays.

The text of the petition follows:

PETITION TO PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR

We, the undersigned, oppose military strikes against Iraq. Such attacks would severely harm Iraqi civilians who are already suffering from the effects of sanctions and routine bombardments by US/UK forces. They would also further destabilise the Middle East and increase terrorism worldwide. We believe that all nations, including Britain and the US, should have to submit their weapons of mass destruction and the means of their production to UN inspection as a prelude to their early elimination by international agreement. We call upon the Prime Minister to proceed no further in the planned attack on Iraq. We affirm that we shall be influenced in how we vote at the next parliamentary election by the positions taken by parties and candidates on this vital issue.

During the meeting Stuart Hemsley, chair of Pax Christi UK, read his personal prepared statement which follows:

There is little left to say that has not already been said. The lies, deceit, policy changes, and false accusations have been too many to repeat. The moral and spiritual bankruptcy of those who lead us is abysmal in the extreme. The current situation is frightening, horrific, and at the same time farcical. One example: The most aggressive rogue nation on earth is Iraq so said Jack Straw last week. Fact: the USA has bombed and attacked over 21 countries since the end of WW2. It has used nuclear weapons. It has used massive quantities of chemical weapons in Viet Nam. Iraq is not in the same league it is a pygmy by comparison. What has now been proudly announced by its inventor, a strategy called Shock and Awe consisting of 3/400 cruise missiles on day 1 of the war on Iraq followed by the same on day 2 an amount that exceeds the total for the first Gulf War in its entirety is a plan straight out of the pit of hell. The perpetrators and implementers of such a plan are evil.

I sincerely hope that they, and the politicians who support it, will be given no rest by their consciences but will constantly be troubled by the images of the torn, bleeding and dead bodies of babies, children, women and men until they acknowledge their crimes and show real remorse for them.

On 18 March 2003, Anne Campbell voted in parliament (in division 118) against the motion moved by the prime minister which included amongst its 390 words that the house “supports the decision of Her Majesty's Government that the United Kingdom should use all means necessary to ensure the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction”. (The motion did not include the word “war”).

She voted for an amendment including the words “believes that the case for war against Iraq has not yet been established, especially given the absence of specific United Nations authorisation; but,”...

According to reports she had resigned from her position as parliamentary private secretary to the trade and industry secretary. She herself later wrote in an unrelated opinion piece in the Cambridge student newspaper Varsity “Had I not previously resigned my role as PPS over the war in Iraq, I would have had to resign with this voting record.” (Varsity, 23 April 2004, page 11)

Alex Wood Hall, the base of Anne Campbell's political party in Cambridge, was named for a local councillor, who remained committed to pacifism during the second world war.


Petition on Iraq war now has at least 604 signatures

Stephen Hewitt,

The petition to local MP Anne Campbell opposing a military attack on Iraq has now 604 signatures, plus an unknown number on sheets which have not yet been handed back to the organisers.

See below for more information.


A petition opposing Iraq military strike gains 216 more signatures

Stephen Hewitt,

The petition to local MP Anne Campbell against a military attack on Iraq gained a further 216 signatures in two hours from 12:00 - 2pm outside the Guildhall today.

See below for more information.


Successful launch of a petition opposing military strike against Iraq

Stephen Hewitt,

Today local peace campaign group Campeace launched a petition against military action on Iraq and collected 145 signatures in 90 minutes from people walking past their stand in the centre of Cambridge.

Campeace maintains a presence outside the Guildhall on the South side of the market square, Market Hill, Cambridge 12:00 - 1:30pm every Saturday.

The petition is addressed to the local representative in parliament, Anne Campbell MP. The full text is below.

PETITION TO ANNE CAMPBELL M.P.

We, the undersigned, oppose military strikes against Iraq. Such attacks would severely harm Iraqi civilians who are already suffering from the effects of sanctions and routine bombardments by US/UK forces. They would also further destabilise the Middle East and increase terrorism worldwide, We believe that all nations, including Britain and the US, should have to submit their weapons of mass destruction and the means of their production to UN inspection as a prelude to their early elimination by international agreement. We call upon you (and other local MPs) to sign the Early Day motion opposing military action against Iraq, and to convey to the Prime Minister the strength of opposition to such action among the people of Cambridge. We affirm that we shall be influenced in how we vote at the next parliamentary election by the positions taken by parties and candidates on this vital issue.

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