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Rowen marches to bring troops home

October 8, 2007 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen today joined fellow politician Tony Benn, dozens of Lib Dem MP's, musician Brian Eno, comedian Mark Thomas and former Starsky and Hutch TV actor David Soul in a protest designed to call for the Labour Government to withdraw troops from Iraq. Mr Rowen joined thousands of protesters on the first day of Parliament after the long Summer recess.

Mr Rowen said: "The Lib Dems have long called for our troops to come home. That is why I joined the Stop the War Coalition in their march from Trafalgar Square to Parliament. If the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, had listened to our Leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, in January, then all of our troops would be coming home this month.

"What we have seen in the past month is that the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown is happy to use our troops as a photo opportunity. This is whilst spinning the number of troop withdrawals and losing much credibility on this issue.

"The conflict in Iraq is getting out of control and putting our troops at risk. There is growing antipathy from the Iraqi people to the coalition forces.

"There is simply no reason for us to make matters worse anymore.

"It's time to bring all our troops home and that's why I was proud to join the march.

"I know that this will be welcomed by the dozens of Rochdale residents who called for me to join the march."

Anti-war protesters were given an eleventh hour go-ahead to stage a march to Parliament after police had earlier threatened to use an old Victorian law to stop them.

The Stop the War Coalition said it had been given police permission to march from Trafalgar Square to parliament less than an hour before the start of the event, designed to call for the government to withdraw troops from Iraq.