British Prime Minister Tony Blair faced renewed criticism over his Iraq policy on Saturday when the leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy urged him to withdraw British troops from Iraq.
"Britain should honor its legal and moral responsibilities with regard to the situation in Iraq. But we need to focus on a proper exit strategy, as we warned at the outset," Kennedy told his supporters at his party's spring conference.
"That should mean a phased withdrawal of British troops to coincide with the end of the United Nations mandate this year," Kennedy said.
In his keynote speech at his party's spring conference, which came two months before Britain's general elections expected on May5, Kennedy stressed that the Iraq war was one of several reasons that the British public could no longer trust Blair as their prime minister.
Kennedy urged voters to choose his party over Blair's Labor Party and Britain's largest opposition group, the Conservative Party, saying his party would present itself as "the real alternative" to another Labor Party government in the forthcoming general election campaign.
The ruling Labor Party had abused the public's trust and the Conservative Party had failed to oppose them, Kennedy told party activists.
The Liberal Democratic Party was the only major political party in Britain to oppose the Iraq war and the decision by Blair's government to make British forces a key part of the US-led coalition.
"People want a credible, principled political party which offers a different vision of what Britain can be," he said.
All three parties are campaigning hard for the expected election in May, but Blair has not confirmed any timing.