MPs from across York and North Yorkshire today spoke of their regret as war started in the Gulf.

And support for troops, many from North Yorkshire, was expressed across the party lines.

York MP Hugh Bayley said: "Everyone wanted to avoid war and it would have been avoided if Iraq had complied with the UN and disarmed.

"Now that it has begun my thoughts are with the troops and the dangers they face.

"I hope that people in York will be able to support them. There are lots of men and women from York 2 Signals Regiment who helped in York during the floods in November 2000, and doctors, nurses and paramedics from Strensall's 34 Field Hospital Regiment.

"The more successful they are, the shorter the war would be."

Ryedale MP John Greenway said: "None of us wants this war but as Parliament and, increasingly, public opinion has concluded, we have no choice but to bring this problem with Iraq to an end.

"I hope that this action will be swiftly concluded and with a minimum of civilian casualties. We should not underestimate the logistical difficulties involved, but I am confident that we have the professionalism in our armed forces to accomplish everything that is demanded of them, and our thoughts are very much with them and their families."

And Harrogate MP Phil Willis, who voted against war in the House of Commons, said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with our troops in the Gulf and the Iraqi people.

"That does not mean our views on the reasons for the war have changed, but it means we are 100 per cent behind our troops. I hope the action is swift with as few casualties as possible."

Selby's Labour MP John Grogan said: "Once military action begins my hope is of course for a short campaign with the minimum of casualties. British troops, many from North Yorkshire, who are putting their lives on the line deserve our prayers and support.

"For me though, this war lacks the moral authority and legitimacy that unambiguous UN backing and a second resolution would have given it..

"I believe President Bush has undermined the authority of the UN by refusing to accept the validity of anyone else's opinion other than that of the US. Tony Blair has made a superhuman effort to keep the US within the UN process. My own view is that when it came to the crunch in the last few days our Government should have demanded greater concessions from the US in return for continued British support.

"The lack of clear UN backing means that I doubt whether this war can truly be called a Just War."

Anne McIntosh, MP for the Vale of York, said: "I very much regret that hostilities are now likely to commence. Saddam Hussein's entrenched position has frustrated disarmament by peaceful and voluntary means, and made the need to disarm him by international force inevitable.

"My thoughts are now with the men and women in our Armed Forces who will perform this difficult and dangerous task, and with their families. It is my fervent wish that the destruction of illegal weapons in Iraq can be achieved in the shortest possible time, with the minimum loss of life."

And Lawrie Quinn, Whitby and Scarborough's MP, said: "If Saddam Hussein had complied with UN resolutions over the last nine years and heeded the international community, there would not have been any need for the conflict in this region. My thoughts are with my constituents who are out there, representing and fighting for our country's interests."