Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online: "I have spent my whole political life not just believing in the Atlantic alliance but working to strengthen it. For many of us in the Conservative Party � I hope the majority � being Atlanticist is not an afterthought but a fundamental part of our philosophy and our values.
But a true friend is a candid friend. U.S. Presidents are not always right. Margaret Thatcher famously told off Ronald Reagan for invading a Commonwealth country without consulting her. Yet America has no greater friend than Margaret Thatcher. She recognised that the first duty of the British Prime Minister is the defence of British interests.
No Conservative would want to see the British relationship with the United States fracture. It is because I believe in it so strongly that I have been robust in my criticism on occasions. The transatlantic partnership has to be just that, a partnership. After September 11 2001 our Government was quite right to pledge its support for President Bush�s campaign against global terrorism, it would have been failing in its duty if it had not done so.
Iraq was a diversion from the core task of the pursuit and destruction of al-Qaeda. Indeed, the failure to prepare properly for the aftermath of invasion has led to a horrifying expansion of terrorist activity in Iraq. We must not make such a mistake again."