"Coalition of the Willing" Will Shrink to One

Brown to pull troops out of Iraq
BRIAN BRADY WESTMINSTER EDITOR

GORDON Brown will remove all British forces from Iraq before the next election under a plan to rebuild support among disillusioned Labour voters.

Scotland on Sunday can reveal the Prime Minister elect is working on a withdrawal plan that could see troop numbers slashed from 7,000 to as few as 2,000 within 12 months.

If implemented, the strategy would culminate in total withdrawal no later than spring 2010, the date by which Brown must go to the country to seek his own mandate.

Policy under Tony Blair involved keeping a small force in Iraq for many years to come. But it emerged last night that President George Bush has been briefed by White House officials to expect an announcement from Downing Street within Brown’s first 100 days in power.

The accelerated ‘troops out’ plan will prove unpopular in Washington, and leaves Brown open to accusations that after supporting the Iraq war he is now leaving its people to an increasingly uncertain future.

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