British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who faces increasing criticism for going to
war in Iraq, again defended his decision Sunday. Mr. Blair made the comments
on the eve of the annual conference of his Labor Party.
After 10 years as party leader and six years as prime minister, Tony Blair
is being battered by criticism on a daily basis, mostly over why Britain went
"They can attack me as much as they want," Mr. Blair said. "I believe we
did the right thing. I believe that our British troops performed absolutely
heroically there. I do not apologize for Iraq. I am proud of what we have done."
Interviewed by the BBC on the eve of the Labor Party conference in the southern
coastal town of Bournemouth, Mr. Blair looks increasingly out of step with
the country, and appears increasingly isolated within the ranks of his ruling
party. The prime minister said he continues to do what he thinks is right,
especially when it comes to countries like Iraq. "I believe this threat of
terrorism linked to these repressive states is the security threat of the 21st
century," Mr. Blair said.
But after five months of searching, no weapons of mass destruction have been
found in Iraq, the main reason given by Mr. Blair for joining the United States
in launching an attack on Saddam Hussein.
His approval ratings have plummeted in recent months. An opinion poll commissioned
by the News of the World newspaper found that 64 percent of voters surveyed
no longer trust the British leader.
A poll in the Observer newspaper of 300 Labor Party members found
that 41 percent want Tony Blair to step down before the next general election.
Parliamentary politicians within Mr. Blair's party reflect the mood of the
A quarter of those recently surveyed by the Guardian newspaper said
their leader should quit now, and one-half of his parliament members want Mr.
Blair to depart before the next general election, which must be called within
the next two-and-a-half years.