Let's see how this turns out.
One senior Cabinet minister, expected to play a central role in Brown's first government, said an accelerated withdrawal from Iraq was one of the "foremost options" under consideration.
He added: "We are already committed to a withdrawal of sorts. The schedule can be altered so it is comfortably done within two years."
Under the blueprint for withdrawal announced by Blair in February, the 7,100 British troops currently in Iraq would be reduced to 5,000 by late summer, with an aspiration to reduce gradually over the following two years.
But the military plans sparked by the looming change at the top involve cutting the British presence more rapidly: to 4,000 by late summer and perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 by the year end.
The ultimate hope is to draw down to a "nominal" force within 18 months, and a virtually complete exit within two years of Brown coming to power.
Michael Codner, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said declining public support and demands had raised expectations of changes in the British presence.
He said: "There is a growing view that British forces in Iraq will be reduced substantially in the next 12 months, perhaps to as low as 1,500. The change of leadership is an obvious catalyst."
Sunday, 20 May 2007
With the Tories making great gains down south and with the increasingly antagonistic mood of the SNP here, Brown is obviously getting worried. In a bid to regain support from pissed off Labour voters, as well as those supporting the SNP, the soon to be Prime Minister has started working on a withdrawal plan aiming to remove troops from Iraq before the Westminster general election.Scotland on Sunday reports: