CONSERVATIVE Party leader Iain Duncan Smith spelled out his views on the drift towards war in Iraq during his visit to Aldershot on Friday.

As 280 party members sat down to dinner at Potters International hotel off the Farnborough Road, Mr Duncan Smith told the Mail he backed Britain’s involvement in the conflict — provided it is in the country’s interest.

He said: “The fact is Iraq has already breached the UN resolutions that are in existence, and the last resolution passed by the UN essentially said that he should now comply completely with previous resolutions and that they will come back and discuss that matter.”

He added: “It has go to be in British interest though. We shouldn’t go to war because somebody else goes to war.

“We should go to war because it is in Britain’s interests to make sure that he (Saddam Hussein) no longer has weapons of mass destruction.

“They could be very dangerous — dangerous to us because they could get into the hands of terrorists, dangerous to his neighbours — he is also developing longer range missiles, or certainly was before the inspectors went in there — so the weapons have to be got rid of and if he won’t do it then we will have to do it militarily.”

Aldershot MP Gerald Howarth spoke to Mr Duncan Smith during the reception.

Mr Howarth later told the Mail: “He is, I think, developing a new agenda which is moving on from the themes of last year when we were talking about the needs of public services which Labour has completely failed on.

“One of his major themes will be to recognise the difficulties the economy is facing as a result of Labour’s tax and spend policy.”

Mr Howarth continued: “He was also talking about the issue of asylum seekers because it had just been announced that the people involved in the death of a police officer in Manchester were asylum seekers.

“I think there’s a huge concern at the way in which the whole asylum issue is completely out of control. He is expecting to make an announcement, which I encouraged him to do, on that very soon.”

Mr Duncan Smith responds to questions on local issues in this weekend’s News.