MPs divided after Islamic State vote

Parliament has approved the use of air strikes against Islamic State extremists in Iraq by 524 votes to 43.

Thursday, 2nd October 2014, 11:59 am
Simon Reevell MP.

After a seven-hour debate the motion was carried with cross-party support and the backing of the three main parties.

But Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood (Lab) was among those who opposed the move.

He said: “I am not surprised by the result of the vote but I am disappointed. I am very concerned that we have failed to learn our lesson about this kind of misadventure and the consequences there will be.

“We have already deployed an unnecessary, tokenistic force that will serve to store up problems for the future for that region and for people in this country.”

Mr Wood voted against the Iraq war in 2003, as well as the war in Afghanistan and last year’s vote on taking military action against the Assad regime in Syria, which parliament did not approve.

But Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell (Con), who voted in favour of air strikes, said there were already regional forces trying to combat Islamic State forces in the area and it was right to offer them support.

He said that the Iraqi government’s formal request to the UK to offer military support gave legitimacy to air strikes and that stopping the rise of IS would help to prevent terrorist attacks in Britain.

“These people are already trying to get into the bedrooms and the minds of young people in Britain. They have already murdered one of us.”

And he said that this conflict was very different to the previous war in Iraq, which became a public relations disaster for the previous Labour government.

“When IS stop routinely crucifying and beheading people we will know we have won. It’s not even like the Nazis, it is just utterly barbaric.

“Because part of the area they occupy is Iraq that does not mean it is a repeat of 2003.”

The vote means that parliament has authorised air strikes in Iraq but not in Syria, which is considered to have different ethical and legal factors.

Islamic State (also known as Isis or Isil) is an extremist group that has taken over large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

The group has released video clips showing the beheadings of American men James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British man David Haines.

In a recent video it threatened the life of Salford taxi driver Alan Henning.