She called the UK's position "totally dishonourable". "I cannot defend it. It is wrong in international law and for the rebuilding of Iraq and it breaches the promises that the prime minister gave to me," she told BBC News.
12 May 2003
Clare Short, Britain's International Development Secretary, today resigned from Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet. Here is the full text of her letter to PM Blair explaining her resignation, followed by Mr. Blair's response.
I have decided I must leave the government.
As you know, I thought the run-up to the conflict in Iraq was mishandled, but I agreed to stay in the government to help support the reconstruction effort for the people of Iraq.
I am afraid that the assurances you gave me about the need for a UN mandate to establish a legitimate Iraqi government have been breached.
The Security Council resolution that you and Jack have so secretly negotiated contradicts the assurances I have given in the House of Commons and elsewhere about the legal authority of the occupying powers, and the need for a UN-led process to establish a legitimate Iraqi government. This makes my position impossible.
It has been a great honour for me to have led the establishment and development of the Department for International Development over the past six years.
I am proud of what we have achieved and much else that the government has done.
I am sad and sorry that it has ended like this.
Tony Blair's response to Clare Short's resignation letter:
Thank you for your letter of resignation from the government.
As you know, I believe you have done an excellent job in the department, which has the deserved reputation as one of the best such departments anywhere in the world.
That is in no small measure down to you.
Our record on aid and development is one of the government's proudest achievements and I would like to thank you for your role in bringing that about.
I know you have had doubts about the government's position on Iraq, but I was pleased you stayed to support the government during this military conflict.
Had you stayed on, there was clearly an important job to be done in the continuing efforts to bring about the reconstruction of Iraq.
My commitment to that effort remains as strong as ever.
I am afraid I do not understand your point about the UN. We are in the process of negotiating the UN resolution at the moment.
And the agreement on this resolution with our American and Spanish partners has scarcely been a secret.
As for who should lead the process of reconstruction, I have always been clear that this is not a matter of the UN leading or the coalition leading.
The two should work together. That is exactly what the resolution stipulates.
Story from BBC NEWS: Clare Short quits post over Iraq
BBC News Letter of Resignation
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