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No weapons.

Byline: John Deane

Prime Minister Tony Blair must admit that the Iraq war was a mistake, former Cabinet minister Robin Cook demanded today.

Mr Cook issued the challenge after US official David Kay quit his role as head of the organisation searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, saying he did not believe there were any major stockpiles to be found.

Mr Cook, a former Foreign Secretary who quit his last Cabinet role as Leader of the House of Commons in protest at the war, said he believed Mr Blair led Britain into the conflict in order to demonstrate to US President George Bush that he was a reliable ally.

Mr Cook told BBC Radio: "It is becoming really rather undignified for the Prime Minister to continue to insist that he was right all along when everybody can now see he was wrong, when even the head of the Iraq Survey Group has said he was wrong.

"I think it is very important that Tony Blair does concede that there were mistakes made, maybe in all good faith, probably he believed them genuinely, but there were mistakes.

"Because if we don't face up to the fact that we got it wrong, then we are not going to learn the lessons."

Mr Kay, who has stepped down as head of the Iraq Survey Group, was reported as saying there was no large scale production programme in Iraq during the 1990s and what was going to be found in the search for WMD had been found.

* THE CIA have named Charles Duelfer as the new inspector to lead the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 24, 2004
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