The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blair takes Iraq beating

London, June 14 (Reuters): A third of British voters appear to have lost confidence in Prime Minister Tony Blair over his handling of the war on Iraq and the issue of weapons of mass destruction, according to a poll published today.

The poll for The Times newspaper showed that 34 per cent of voters were less likely to trust Blair on other issues in the future as a result of the controversy over Iraq’s banned weapons, a key reason he gave for joining the US-led coalition to overthrow President Saddam Hussein, the newspaper said.

Blair has been under pressure over allegations of hyping evidence to justify war. No such weapons have been found.

The Populus poll of 1,003 adults conducted across the UK also showed that 58 per cent of the public think that the British and the US governments consciously exaggerated evidence that Iraq had the weapons to justify war.

More than half of the British public thought military action was justified, the poll showed — 58 per cent, down from 64 per cent in April, The Times said.

Blair has also come under fire for intelligence reports used to justify the war. One spy watchdog criticised the government for releasing a dossier on Iraq’s alleged weapons concealment programme without checking it with intelligence services.

The Intelligence and Security Committee is also looking to allegations that the government pressed security services to ”sex up” an earlier dossier which presented evidence of Hussein’s supposed biological and chemical weapons arsenal.

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