Hereford MP Paul Keetch has come out against an attack on Iraq. Britain, he says, has no business going to war in the Gulf without an all clear from the United Nations and a substantive vote in the Commons.

Advice from Mr Keetch, as shadow secretary of state for defence, played a large part in Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy staking a claim to the anti-war cause last week.

The 'act now or pay later' logic put forward by the Prime Minister is not, says Mr Keetch, authoritative argument.

"No case for an attack on Iraq has been presented to the British people. I find it personally and politically difficult to support a war without UN mandate and, as yet, no sense of legitimacy on the international stage."

Mr Keetch has allies on the ground. Peace campaigners in the county are active again, planning vigils and other protests as the likelihood of conflict increases. The MP is off to the Gulf soon to talk with soldiers and statesmen alike as to what a war would be good for.

l A Herefordshire Council motion urging the authority to acknowledge local opposition to an attack on Iraq has been denied time on the floor.

But the man behind the motion isn't running up a white flag just yet.

Guy Woodford, the county's sole Green councillor, wonders where 'grass roots' opposition can go if not to its local representatives. He already has an ally in Kate Bull, a co-organiser of last year's border peace vigils.

Councillor Woodford's motion called on the council to recognise the extent of local feeling against an attack - and put such objections to Westminster. Standing orders won't allow this.