Published: July 11, 2009, 17:03
Baghdad: Iraqi lawmakers loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr have walked out of parliament during a debate on a draft law that would let a small group of British forces stay in Iraq.
Sadrist lawmaker Aqil Abdul Hussan said on Saturday that any continued British military presence is a blow to Iraqi sovereignty.
The Sadrist group has about 30 legislators in the 275-member parliament. Their leader once staged bloody rebellions against US-led troops.
Under the draft law, some 100 British troops would stay for another year at the southern Umm Qasr port, mainly to train the Iraqi navy to defend oil platforms in the Gulf.
Britain has ended combat operations and has begun shipping out troops based mainly around the southern city of Basra.