Conservative calls for UK troops to quit Iraq

TOP Tory Michael Ancram has broken ranks with his party leadership to call for British troops to withdraw from Iraq.

The former Edinburgh South MP, who served as a government minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, said the country was in a state of civil war and it was time for UK squaddies to come home.

Despite defying new leader David Cameron and his successor as Shadow Foreign Secretary Liam Fox, Mr Ancram was defiant today, saying that after three years British soldiers had done all that they could.

His intervention came as the majority Shia Bloc in the Iraqi parliament were deciding whether to replace their controversial prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari.

He has angered Kurds and Sunis in the country and is blamed by America and Britain for blocking the formation of a government of national unity.

Last night he handed back his nomination to the Shia coalition led by his United Iraq Alliance and asked them to decide whether he should stay on or someone else take over.

Mr Ancram, who also served as Shadow Defence Secretary, has torn apart his country's official policy that soldiers should stay in Iraq as long as necessary.

He said: "It is now for us to get out of Iraq with dignity and honour while we still can.

"We must not take sides between Sunis and Shias. It has always been evident that in the event of civil war we should just get out."

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