'British troops should be withdrawn from Iraq before the 100th soldier dies', Martin Levy told the Communist Party of Britain political committee on Wednesday evening.

'It is a sign of New Labour's moral bankruptcy that British and Iraqi lives are regarded so cheaply, while the British government colludes in the CIA's programme to fly detainees to torture centres around the world', he added.

Mr Levy welcomed the change of policy and leadership in the Israeli Labour Party, but warned that any future government under Ariel Sharon would seek to maintain Israel's occupation of large parts of the West Bank. The political committee reaffirmed Communist Party support for the 'two-state' solution whereby viable and secure Palestinian and Israeli states co-exist in accordance with pre-1967 international borders.

Mr Levy, convenor of the party's Science, Technology and the Environment advisory committee, also restated opposition to a new nuclear power programme for Britain.

'The environmental, security and financial costs would far outweigh any benefits', he argued, 'while our transport systems continues to pump massive carbon emissions into the atmosphere'.

The political committee drew attention to the likely link between Prime Minister Blair's support for a big expansion of plutonium-producing nuclear power and his desire to manufacture a new generation of plutonium-consuming nuclear weapons.

It also warned unions against New Labour manouevres to cut the trade union share of the vote at Labour Party conferences.

'It's an old trick - Alan Johnson proposes a reduction to just 15 per cent, so that a later proposal to chop the union voice to 30 or 40 per cent looks reasonable', Mr Levy warned, 'when in fact all reductions in the trade union vote have been used to erode party democracy and ram through right-wing policies'.