At the end of Question Time Tam Dalyell, the Father of the House, used an arcane Standing Order procedure to make a threeminute statement about his passionate conviction that the Commons should have a debate on the Iraq situation so that British men and women going to fight would know whether or not there is a settled, overwhelming conviction in the country that their cause is just and in accordance with a moral basis of international law. The TV cameras did not reveal whether the Prime Minister had stayed behind to hear what Mr Dalyell had to say but it probably did not matter greatly because the Speaker ponderously read out his decision that such a debate would not be appropriate. He did not say why and it was hard to avoid the conclusion that Mr Dalyell's concern and passion deserved rather more than the brusque dismissal the Speaker gave it.
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