Jonathan Evans,Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, responds to the comments from the High Representative for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana
The starting point in this whole debate must be that we are representatives of democratic nations. Saddam Hussein is a dictator who has no respect for democracy, the rule of law or the demands of the United Nations itself. As democrats, we have a responsibility to explain fully the reasons why it may be necessary to take action in order to uphold the will of the international community which is that Saddam should unconditionally disarm.
The British Prime Minister has a special responsibility to explain clearly the reasons why we must confront the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. To date, his Government has not been united and clear on the issue.
The position of the French and German Governments in recent days has demonstrated that any prospect of a Common Foreign and Security Policy is fallacious. I make no partisan political point on this, but we would be fooling ourselves as European parliamentarians to believe that we are anywhere near developing a CFSP or anything like it. We clearly are not.
If the western nations had sent a strong, unified message to Saddam from the start and maintained their resolve, then perhaps today we would not have to be contemplating military action.