LONDON – The father of a British soldier killed in Iraq said Sunday he would challenge Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) for his seat in Parliament.
Reg Keys, 52, said he would run as an independent in Blair's home district of Sedgefield (search), in northeastern England, in national elections expected in May.
"I'm coming for you, Mr. Blair, but I'm going to do it in a civilized way," Keys said in a news conference at the London studio of the music producer Brian Eno. "I want to get the troops brought safely home. Get them out and replace them with U.N. peacekeeping forces."
Blair has faced tough domestic opposition to his decision to join the U.S.-led war, particularly within his governing Labour Party (search).
Keys, a former ambulance driver, said he was motivated by the deaths of his son, Thomas, 20, and other young people in Iraq.
"I am a victim of this war," he said. "I made the ultimate sacrifice. I've lost my son."
"How does [Blair] think those families of dead Iraqis feel? How does he think I felt when I dressed my son for his funeral, combed his beautiful blond hair and tried to avert my vision from the side of his face that had been blown off?" Keys asked.
Under the British system, parties choose candidates to run in districts for seats in the House of Commons. Keys said he was urging other candidates running in the strongly Labor district to step down and give him a clear shot at Blair's seat.
He urged the prime minister to debate him on television.
"If this war was legal and Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction, you've got nothing to hide," he said.