Motion to impeach Blair accuses him of "gross misconduct"
LONDON, (AFP) - A draft of a parliamentary motion to impeach Prime Minister Tony Blair accuses him of "gross misconduct" over the US-led invasion of Iraq, a newspaper said.
The Independent on Sunday said it had obtained the text of the motion from a cross-party group of MPs, adding it would be offered for debate soon after the new parliamentary session begins later this month.
The motion calls for a select committee to investigate the "conduct of the PM in relation to the war in Iraq," the daily said.
The committee would draw up the "articles of impeachment" and a panel of law lords would judge whether Blair deliberately misled the nation into waging an unlawful war, it said.
A guilty verdict would see Blair arrested by parliament's Sergeant at Arms.
Michael Martin, the speaker in the House of Commons, must rule on whether the motion can be proposed for debate on the floor of the house.
The newspaper said that although Blair had little chance of losing an impeachment vote, the very fact it was held would represent a serious humiliation.
Downing Street has ordered officials to compile a case against the motion on the grounds it is obsolete.
Adam Pryce, the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru MP who began the campaign to impeach Blair, said he hoped 30 to 50 members of parliament would support the motion, according to the Independent. So far 23 have signed up.
The text calls for a committee to investigate and report to the house on Blair's conduct regarding the war and to consider the following:
-- the conclusions of the US Iraq Survey Group which reported that in March 2003, when the invasion was launched, Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction and had been essentially free of them since the mid-1990s.
-- the opinion of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) that the war was unlawful.
-- "whether there exist sufficient grounds to impeach... Blair on charges of gross misconduct in his advocacy of the case for war against Iraq and in his conduct of policy in connection with that war." source