The grieving mother of a Staffordshire soldier killed in Iraq days after returning from leave claimed last night the Govern-ment's suggestion of withdrawing "a significant number" of troops was "just a carrot".
Susan Smith's 21-year-old son, Private Phillip Hewett, of the 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment, was killed by a roadside bomb in al-Amarah on July 16.
Mrs Smith, aged 44, from Tamworth, addressing a Stop The War Coalition meeting in Kings Heath, Birmingham, questioned the Government's committment to bringing British soldiers home "before they hit some death-toll target".
Clutching a framed photo of her son, she said: "I was against the war from the start but Phillip's death made me willing to speak out. I think we were led into this war by George Bush and where he goes, Tony Blair seems to follow - this war had nothing to do with Britain."
Pte Hewett joined up at 18, and was based at Stafford. He was killed three weeks before his 22nd birthday.
She added: "Phillip would have gone wherever he was posted because he loved being a soldier and loved Army life.
"Three more British soldiers have been killed in the past ten days, and I wonder if Labour have set a target of 'acceptable losses' before they do something about bringing these guys home.
"I think John Reid's claim he wants to significantly reduce the number of troops in Iraq by the end of 2006 is a knee-jerk reaction to the fact we've had our 100th death. Isn't that a high enough figure?"