LONDON - Parliamentarians will table a motion on Wednesday demanding a debate on Prime Minister Tony Blair's "gross misconduct" in leading Britain to war against Iraq.
The impeachment motion, the first one to be tabled since the mid-19th century, has been signed by 23 members of parliament (MPs) from various opposition parties.
But even if a debate is granted, any attempt to accuse Blair of "high crimes and misdemeanors" is doomed to fail in the elected House of Commons, where his Labour party has a majority of more than 150 seats.
"We must make a stand or watch the democracy that we have fought for so often against foreign enemies be subverted from within," Welsh nationalist MP Adam Price said.
"The rules of constitutional conduct have been brushed aside. The cabinet table has been replaced with the sofa ... and the facts replaced with 'belief'."
Price started a campaign during the summer to have Blair impeached, unveiling a 99-page report titled "A Case to Answer" that set out the legal case.
Sources in his party, Plaid Cymru, said they would be pressing for a full parliamentary debate in January.
After months of denial, Blair admitted earlier this year that intelligence information he used to make a case for war, which said Saddam Hussein had banned weapons ready to use, had turned out to be wrong.
Famous figures including playwright Harold Pinter, novelists Iain Banks and Frederick Forsyth, and actor Corin Redgrave will attend an event in parliament on Wednesday to publicize the motion.
Blair can rest assured that he will not face the ultimate sanction of removal from office.
But the bid will embarrass the premier, drawing renewed attention to an issue that has dogged him since the war last year hammered his public trust ratings.
The motion calls for a committee of MPs to be appointed to investigate and report to the Commons within 48 days.
It would be the first time the ancient parliamentary power of impeachment has been used in Britain since a failed attempt to prosecute a foreign secretary in the mid-19th century.
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