Gordon Brown today condemned the manner of Saddam Hussein's execution as
"deplorable'' and "completely unacceptable".
The Chancellor's forthright denunciation of the manner of the former Iraqi
dictator's death stood in stark contrast to the continuing silence of Prime
Minister Tony Blair on the issue.
Mr Blair has come under growing pressure - including from Labour MPs - to make
his own views clear on the December 30 execution and said on Friday that he
would speak about the issue next week.
The Chancellor's comments came in his first interview of the year in which he
is expected to take over from Mr Blair as Prime Minister.
He made clear that he was personally opposed to the use of the death penalty
and said he hoped lessons would be learnt from the mistakes made in Saddam's
execution, as well as from the other difficulties encountered in Iraq.
In the interview on BBC1's Sunday AM, Mr Brown said: "Now that we know the
full picture of what happened, we can sum this up as a deplorable set of
"It is something, of course, which the Iraqi Government has now expressed its
anxiety and shame at.
"It has done nothing to lessen tensions between the Shia and Sunni
"Even those people, unlike me, who are in favour of capital punishment found
this completely unacceptable and I am pleased that there is now an inquiry into
this and I hope lessons in this area will be learnt, as we learn other lessons