MP ‘not satisfied’ over Syria air strikes call

RAF Tornado GR4's at RAF Akrotiri Cyprus being armed with the Paveway IV Laser Guided Bombs. RAF war planes are gearing up to launch air strikes on Syria
RAF Tornado GR4's at RAF Akrotiri Cyprus being armed with the Paveway IV Laser Guided Bombs. RAF war planes are gearing up to launch air strikes on Syria
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Fleetwood MP Cat Smith today said “the mistakes of Iraq and Libya must not be repeated yet again”, ahead of MPs being asked to vote on UK air strikes in Syria.

A Commons debate and vote is set to be held today, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying he believed there was growing parliamentary support for action.

Anti war protesters in London

Anti war protesters in London

But Ms Smith said she is far from satisfied that UK air strikes would help improve the situation either in Syria or enhance security in the UK.

She believes other ways of degrading ISIS – such as stopping ISIS oil trade and flows of supplies and fighters – must be pursued further.

She said: “The mistakes of Iraq and Libya must not be repeated yet again.

“Having heard David Cameron set out his argument in Parliament last week and studied his written briefing, I am far from satisfied that UK air strikes would help improve the situation either in Syria or enhance our security in the UK.

The mistakes of Iraq and Libya must not be repeated yet again

Fleetwood MP Cat Smith

Strikes

“Air strikes against Daesh have been occurring for a year and a half so it is relevant to question what realistic impact a UK contribution would have.

“There are many steps towards degrading ISIS / Daesh that must be pursued much more strongly.

“The UK government this week estimated ISIS are receiving $1.5m every single day from oil. Their control of oil fields would be of no value unless there are those willing to buy and transport what they produce.

Cat Smith

Cat Smith

“This trade must be stopped, as must the flows of supplies and fighters which currently cross the Turkish border without interference.

“Funding from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states – our nominal allies – must also cease.”

Ms Smith said she believed the UK’s priority should be the diplomatic process that can create an agreed pathway to a stable Syria, rather than create further refugees to add to the millions who have already been displaced by conflict.

She added: “The renewed efforts, correctly this time including all those countries with influence over the Assad government, have a real chance of creating the political and military space that would allow for Daesh to be militarily engaged and defeated by domestic Syrian forces.

“Achieving the lasting peace that Syrians desperately need and removing the territory from which ISIS have been able to plan terror attacks can only ever be one element of improving our security at home.

“Reducing support for the violent ideologies which promote terrorism needs a very broad range of approaches, from education and the alleviation of poverty to a consistent approach to human rights abuses whether carried out by friends or foes.”

Ms Smith said she would be reviewing any further evidence released by the government and added: “However, I do not wish to see the brave air crew of the RAF placed in danger on a mission I do not believe will achieve its desired outcomes nor provide greater security for us at home.”

Mr Cameron said there was “growing support” across Parliament to intervene against ISIS in Syria.

“It is in the national interest, it is the right thing to do, we will be acting with our allies, we will be careful and responsible as we do so, but in my view it is the right thing to do this to keep our country safe,” he said.

The Prime Minister will formally seek the backing of senior colleagues for his strategy at today’s meeting of the Cabinet in Downing Street.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has granted Labour MPs a free vote on UK air strikes in Syria, which means Labour MPs will not be ordered to vote with the leadership.