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Gordon Brown is preparing to announce the withdrawal of a substantial number of Britain's remaining troops in Iraq as soon as Parliament returns next week. Up to half the force of 5,500 could be on their way home in the next few months.
One cabinet minister told The Independent on Sunday that the announcement by the Prime Minister would be "significant" and would set out a clear strategic direction on Iraq. This would involve the withdrawal of thousands of troops, according to senior government sources.