Thursday, 17 June 2021

Britain to agree air strikes, says MP

JOHN HOWELL believes MPs will back British air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Parliament was being recalled today (Friday) to discuss how the UK should respond to the Iraqi government’s request for help.

Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain “should not turn away from what needs to be done”.

Mr Howell said: “My thoughts are that if this can be done through air strikes and not involving ground troops at all then it’s likely to be better supported. The responsibility for ground warfare is certainly the responsibility of Iraq and Kurdistan.

“However, I shall listen to what the Prime Minister has to say about what is proposed because it’s not very clear from the press reports what he is saying at the moment.”

The Liberal Democrats are backing air strikes and Labour leader Ed Miliband has confirmed his support, saying the UK cannot “opt out”.

Mr Cameron has vowed to “hunt down” the IS rebels responsible for the murder of British aid worker David Haines earlier this month.

But Mr Howell ruled out Britain joining the US in carrying out air strikes in Syria.

He said: “I don’t think the hostage has anything to do with it and what is being put together is a wider coalition.

“The problem is that I’m not sure how much you have to fire at these countries before you can not only defeat them militarily but also get them to change their minds.

“I’m not sure anything you do is going to change their minds.”

The US and five countries from the Gulf and Middle East have begun bombing IS in Syria.

The UK is already providing arms and surveillance support to Kurdish forces who are battling IS.

Mr Cameron lost a Commons vote in August last year over proposed air strikes in response to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

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