3.25 pm

Sir James Paice (South East Cambridgeshire) (Con): We have heard some erudite and persuasive speeches from Members who have far more knowledge of the region than I do. There seems to be little doubt that the House will support the motion; I strongly welcome that, and I shall do the same. I do not intend to try to persuade the House of the evils of ISIL or of the need to bomb or to do anything, but I want to flag up three aspects that I hope the Government will bear in mind. I particularly welcomed the speeches made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke)—who, as one would have expected, covered the issues extremely well—and my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), and it is in the same vein that I shall speak briefly about the fact that we may need to do more.

First, although I am sure that we all strongly welcome the tremendous coalition involving so many other Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, I hope that the Deputy Prime Minister, when he winds up the debate, will be able to address some of the stories that are going round. It is being suggested that the support from some of those countries is pretty lukewarm, and that their participation in the air strikes has been pretty small. Indeed, some have accused them of doing little more than flying around. It would be useful to know precisely their role. I also hope that the Deputy Prime Minister will address the financial issue. It is all very well to say “They should stop buying the oil” when financial institutions and mechanisms are turning that oil into the flow of cash that is buying the weapons, and so forth, for ISIL. I hope that pressure can be brought to bear so that the situation can be dealt with through those financial institutions.

My second point relates to the Prime Minister’s wholly understandable commitment that we should not put British troops on the ground. I firmly believe that we should always retain some element of surprise, and that—here I use a phrase that has already been used—if we will the end, we need to will the means. I do not want to see British troops on the ground. I entirely agree that it is up to the Iraqi army and the peshmerga to be the troops on the ground, and to take back the ground that, hopefully, air strikes will liberate. Nevertheless, I am not sure that it is wise to rule out the issue of troops on the ground for ever and a day, which I think is what we are doing.

My final point concerns Syria. I am sure that the Prime Minister will come back to the House to deal with the subject—as, indeed, I believe that he should—but

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I think that, before doing so, he needs to address the fundamental question of how we can attack ISIL in Syria without being seen as in some way supporting the Assad regime, when we are supporting the Free Syrian Army at the same time. I am afraid that there is still a small lacuna in policy, as I understand it, on that issue.

3.28 pm

Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): Although its origins lie in Islamist jihadist groups in Iraq and elsewhere, ISIL is not an Islamic organisation; nor is it a state. I think that our media should stop referring to it by using its self-description, and I am glad that the motion does not use those words.

I want to make two points in the limited time that is available to me. This criminal caliphate cult—for that is what it is—is a threat to all the communities in the region, and, because of the 15,000 foreign fighters who have been attracted to it, including 3,000 European Union citizens, it is a threat to us. I have a large number of Muslim constituents, and—I cannot go any further than this—there are people in my borough who have been arrested, detained or imprisoned for terrorist offences. It is vital that we do not take action that gives the narrative that we are against Islam; we are not. We are fighting to defend Islam and Muslims in the middle east region and also in this country. The worst crimes of this brutal terrorist organisation are being carried out against Islamic women.

Finally, on the Kurds, I am pleased that the British Government are now giving the support that they should have given earlier to the Kurdistan Regional Government, and that we are seen by the Kurds as a friend.

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish) (Lab): My hon. Friend is right to raise the plight of the Kurds. Does he also agree that they need not just military assistance, but humanitarian assistance? There are hundreds of thousands of them fleeing both Syria and Kurdish-controlled Iraq.

Mike Gapes: I went to the KRG last year. I visited the area of Dohuk and the Domiz refugee camp. At that time, there were about 150,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees, half of whom were living with families in the city of Dohuk, and the other half in a well-organised refugee camp. Now, there are many more. There were 250,000 Syrian Kurds who fled last year. Now it is estimated that the KRG, which has a population of about 4.5 million people, has taken in 1.4 million refugees or displaced people from the rest of Iraq. Similar stories apply in other countries in the region. The Kurds have taken in Christians, Yazidis, Sunnis and Shi’as. They have not discriminated; they care about humanity. This is a functioning democratic society that needs our support, investment and humanitarian assistance. Above all, the brave but lightly armed peshmerga who have put themselves on the line need far more equipment and training.

A few weeks ago, the capital city of the KRG, Irbil, was potentially going to be swept aside. The Americans and others were thinking about evacuating personnel. It was only because of the peshmerga’s bravery that the KRG was kept safe. It is vital that ISIL is driven back, defeated and ultimately eliminated. The ideology it represents has to be challenged not just by us but by those from within the Muslim world—the imams, the various mosques, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere.

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3.32 pm

Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) (Con): There can be and is no greater responsibility for Parliament than when committing combat troops—armed forces—to battle. As such, we are absolutely right to scrutinise and examine the evidence and to ask the questions. I am afraid that there are certain questions that remain unanswered, and I hope that the Deputy Prime Minister will address them when he winds up the debate.

A key concern is that there seems to be a lack of a co-ordinated plan, particularly when it comes to the military and political aspects. As a soldier, clarity of mission and a clear exit strategy are absolutely essential, and yet that is not what we seem to have here. We all accept that military intervention—air strikes—alone will not defeat IS, but what is not clear is what plan B is if there are no ground forces to follow through and take and hold ground. I am talking about local and regional ground forces. Because there is a real danger that if the Iraqi army is not fit for purpose and cannot take and hold ground, the air strikes themselves become not only ineffective but actually counter-productive, especially if civilian casualties mount, and especially if IS will be able to spin that they have withstood the might of the west and held ground. There is a real danger, without a co-ordinated military plan, that we will go up a cul-de-sac with no successful exit strategy.

I also suggest that the politics is not right. It is very clear that one of the major reasons for IS’s success in the north of the country is that the Sunni minorities feel alienated. We have had a change in leadership—the sectarian al-Maliki has gone—but the next tier of politicians, who were responsible for implementing that sectarian politics, have largely remained in place. There has been no clear-out, and without a political solution, without the hearts and minds accompanying a military campaign, any military successes on the ground could be very short-lived.

We must learn from the errors in the past with regard to just knocking the door down and in effect walking away, because if we do not, we shall yet again make fundamental errors.

3.36 pm

Mr Jamie Reed (Copeland) (Lab): I shall be brief. I support the motion and I commend both the case made by the Prime Minister and the excellent case for support made by the Leader of the Opposition. There has been a great deal of unanimity in the comments and contributions from across the House, but I have some concerns about the debate so far, like the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron), and hope that the Deputy Prime Minister will be able to address those.

First, we must be absolutely clear with the British people. Our support for intervention is morally, strategically and politically right, but we have to be clear: we do not fully know how this will end. As is usually the case, this plan will not survive contact with the enemy. We need to be frank about that—frank, too, about the potential consequences. We must never again see soft and hard power as separate strategies. The lesson of the 21st century has been that hard power without soft power is disastrous, and that soft power without the prospect of hard power is too often pointless. Nobody in the House wants to

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write a blank cheque, morally, strategically or financially. The motion seeks to avoid that, but the motion will not be on the battlefield.

We will return to these issues before a general election, I am sure, to discuss them again, perhaps with regard to further intervention. That is the truth. When the Deputy Prime Minister concludes, I hope he will be able to tell us what assessment the Government have made regarding the potential domestic consequences of our intervention. The public would expect that, and surely some assessment has been made.

Finally, were I a Muslim Briton, I would feel under siege in my own country—marginalised, treated with suspicion and caution, even contempt, for more years now than I would care to remember. As a Parliament, and as a legislature, we need to do more to reach out to our Muslim countrymen. We have to let them know that we know that the extremism we are fighting against is as alien to them as it is to everyone else in this country. We do not do that enough, and I hope that the Deputy Prime Minister will ensure that he does so when he concludes the debate.

I support the motion, but it deliberately avoids a series of difficult questions that demand some extremely difficult answers. We will, I am certain, return to these issues very soon, but fundamentally, we must deal with the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.

3.38 pm

Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con): There have been many good speeches today, some at different volumes. I only wish to contribute three main points, first on the justification of military action, secondly on the question of ISIL and Islam, and thirdly on the longer-term plan.

On the first point, I have always believed that there are only two ways to justify military action: the first is self-defence and the second is protecting other states in their self-defence. In the case of the motion, there is both self-defence—citizens have already been captured and executed—and the Iraqi Government’s request for our help in protecting their state against a brutal invasion.

On the second point, it is incredibly important for the cohesion of our country that no one confuses the action we are taking against ISIL for an expression of our views on Islam. Today the leaders of the Muslim community in Gloucester, in my constituency, have published a letter in the Gloucester Citizen which highlights their views:

“Muslim communities in Gloucester today together speak out over the evils of terrorism and condemn the horrific atrocities falsely committed in the name of Islam in Iraq and Syria.”

This is important because, as President Obama and our own Prime Minister have stressed, we should be working with Muslim communities and not allowing this legal action to become a wedge between them and the rest of us. I hope that the Deputy Prime Minister will agree that there is more to be done on this on both sides.

On the way ahead, the motion is clear that our plan of action is to support

“the Government of Iraq in protecting civilians and restoring its territorial integrity”.

For me, that is enough for now. I strongly believe that the answer to the question, “Should we be sending Tornadoes everywhere in the world where barbarous terrorists strike?”, is that, as the Leader of the House,

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then Foreign Secretary, once said, “Just because we cannot intervene everywhere does not mean we should never intervene anywhere.” We do so today in a coalition of regional countries and two other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, at the specific request of the Government of Iraq. There is no doubt that a significant effort will be required to bring about what Ban Ki-moon said in the great quotation that the Prime Minister repeated regarding the strength of Governments in defeating terrorism. There is a huge amount of work to be done on that.

In his guide to the causes of war, the historian Sir Michael Howard wrote:

“Force, or the threat of it, may not settle arguments, but it does play a considerable part in determining the structure of the world in which we live.”

Let us therefore hope that in supporting this motion, the action we take will help to bring about a structure in Iraq in which all peoples can work together peacefully.

3.41 pm

Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): This motion is the thin end of a bloody and ugly wedge that will grow and expand and mission-creep into a prolonged war with unforeseeable consequences. In the middle east, we are falling into a vortex of hatreds that are ancient and deep. Once we start this process, it will be almost impossible to extricate ourselves from it in future.

We speak under various delusions, one of which is a feeling of omnipotence in thinking that our presence is absolutely essential, although we do have a contribution to make. During the 2003 war in the Gulf, we were told that we had to go in because otherwise Saddam Hussein would continue, but that was not the case because the Americans were already there. The Americans, to our great gratitude, are there now. That country has sacrificed more of its sons and daughters in seeking democracy for the people of other countries than any other land in the world. We should look to having our own policies. Why cannot we become independent in our foreign policy? We have not done that since the time of Vietnam, but that means there is a terrible prospect for us, and we are facing it now.

The result of the war in Iraq was to deepen the sense of suspicion and alienation between the western Christian communities and the eastern Muslim communities. When we went in into Iraq in 2003, only a minority were involved in al-Qaeda, and they hardly figured at all. Now we find, to our horror, that young children who were born here, brought up here and absorbed our values through education are suddenly, in their adolescent years, having their idealism twisted and marching off to behave like mediaeval barbarians. How on earth has this happened? It has not happened because of the mosques or the imams, who were not much in touch with them, but because of the internet and the propaganda that comes from it. That is the source of this evil.

Once people become radicalised in this way and lose all their standards of common humanity, as they are doing in ISIL now, there is no question but that they will come back here. We are living in a world of a war in which on one side there are marvellous, sophisticated, clever weapons, but those are not needed to fight terrorist activity. It did not need a nuclear weapon to bring down the twin towers or a smart bomb to murder a soldier on

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the streets of Britain. In this asymmetric warfare, there is no military solution. That solution will bring its own consequences in more terror. We must look to having an independent foreign policy free from the United States.

3.45 pm

Nadhim Zahawi (Stratford-on-Avon) (Con): I draw the House’s attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Interests; I am co-chairman of the all-party group for Kurdistan and vice-chairman of the all-party group for Iraq.

There is no forgetting either that, over the past two decades, the UK has spent a total of 16 years at war in Iraq, or the profound effect that that has had on our national psyche. It is, I am sure, the source of the hesitation that some right hon. and hon. Members will be feeling today.

ISIL is a contagion and we are right to join our coalition partners in air strikes. Effectively targeted air strikes degrade ISIL’s war fighting capabilities and dismantle its command and control structures. They will do much, but we must not be lulled into the sense that they alone will provide a clinical clear-cut victory. They can be only one aspect of an overall strategy. Intervention is complicated, its results unpredictable. We have only to look to Libya to see that. But it is impossible to mitigate all of the dangers. Instead, we have to take the long view. Fundamentally this is a conflict management situation. It is not about bringing a decisive end to the endemic disorder the region has faced over the past century.

Mr Bacon: Is not the endemic disorder partly a result of the borders imposed by the west 100 years ago? Is it obvious, as many seem to think, that the current borders of the nation state of Iraq are the right way to go?

Nadhim Zahawi: My hon. Friend raises an important point. The Kurds have given themselves three months to see whether the new unity Government will work. We have to be aware that our strategy relies on the actions of others and we must be prepared actively to contend with both sudden changes in regional dynamics and evolving long-term agendas. Will Turkey come off the fence and offer a definitive contribution? Will Saudi clerics make the ideological and religious arguments necessary to counter this violent extremism? Are Qatar and Kuwait ready to stop the flow of funds to ISIL? To what extent can Iran be relied upon to act pragmatically? By linking nuclear negotiations to actions on ISIL, Iran endangers a backlash from both Riyadh and, of course, Tel Aviv, and potentially compromises any shared gains.

Fundamentally, can the Iraqi Government introduce the changes in quality and equality of governance required? Are they prepared to introduce a new form of federalism, honesty and equity on revenue sharing and meaningful economic reform and to settle outstanding constitutional questions? Such intertwined forces will require creative thinking by our diplomats. My hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Rory Stewart) pointed out clearly what we needed to do to resource these diplomats. They, of course, need to consider all the options that are open to them. What if the grand coalition that has been put together does not work? What is plan B? In Washington our colleagues are beginning to think about these options and we must do, too.

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The choice between boots on the ground and heads in the sand is a false dichotomy. Destroying ISIL is something only the people of the region can accomplish. But if we can buy them some time and space to do that, I think we should.

3.48 pm

John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness) (Lab/Co-op): I will be supporting the motion today. We are right to demand a coherent and effective strategy but on the bigger issue of whether to act at all, the question I ask is this: if we are not prepared to take on monsters such as these when they threaten our citizens, our interests and our entire value system, and if we accept that there can be no accommodation with them at all, when exactly would we be prepared to act? I respect the Prime Minister for being clear today that this campaign may last several years. We must authorise action in the knowledge of the lives, military and civilian, that may be lost. But it is right that we strike now, at a time when extremists have made great advances but do not yet have the secure foothold in the region that they need. They control Iraq’s second city but not yet the full apparatus of statehood.

We should recognise the legacy of the botched vote on Syria last year. I know that there are different views on this, but for my part, the failure of US and UK resolve did not magically trigger this chemical weapon breakthrough, as some suggest; it emboldened extremists by showing them that the bar for action against their terror was that much higher.

We must dispel confusion about the forces fighting in Syria. It is demeaning and wrong to hear people say that last year we were being asked to intervene on the side of ISIL. The moderate democratic Syrian opposition coalition were desperate for help in their two-fronted battle against a murderous dictator on one side, and the evil jihadis on the other. They are now beaten back but they are not cowed, and their forces will play an important part in degrading ISIL within Syria—if we can give them support through air strikes.

It is time for all sides in this debate to match laudable rhetoric with commitment. If we believe that the world must pursue ISIL until it is defeated; if we accept the legal case; if we support the action of other nations operating in the country; and if we think it morally wrong, as has been powerfully expressed today, for us to sit on the sidelines while others confront this evil, we must state our ambition now to put forward a strategy for action inside Syria too.

3.51 pm

Mr Richard Bacon (South Norfolk) (Con): For two thirds of my adult lifetime we have been dropping bombs on Iraq, and as the hon. Member for Bradford West (George Galloway) said, actually, we have been doing it for 100 years. Each time we do it, we think it is going to make things better. The evidence suggests that each time we do it, we make things worse. I voted against the Iraq war in 2003 because I thought it would make things worse. The Deputy Prime Minister was not

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a Member of Parliament at the time, but many Liberal Democrats did vote against it and they were right: it did make things worse.

The Leader of the Opposition countered the argument that if we do anything, we will make things worse by saying that if we pass by, we will make it harder to persuade Arab countries to play their part. I find that quite a difficult argument to understand. The House of Commons Library tells me that in the top 18 Muslim countries in the world, of which 13 are Arab—the other five are Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia—there are 2.8 million men under arms. It seems to me that if fellow Muslims—co-religionists—are being threatened in this part of Iraq and Syria, the first response would be from Muslim countries. Those top 18 Muslim countries—perhaps many others as well—would be the first to put their soldiers’ lives on the line, although not necessarily all of them. Of course, not all of them would be available, but out of 2.8 million soldiers enough could probably be found to do the job, especially if other countries, including those in the west and in the Gulf, could be found to pay for them. They would not excite the natural suspicion and antagonism that will be aroused by any involvement by the west. However, that has not happened yet.

Perhaps the single most important contribution I have heard today was from the right hon. Member for Oldham West and Royton (Mr Meacher), who said that there are big questions to ask about the regional powers that have been supporting ISIL. That issue has hardly been touched on in the debate. We have heard that Turkey has yet to make up its mind, and there are big concerns that some of the Gulf states—and Saudi Arabia itself—are partly supporting ISIL.

The truth is that Islam faces its own version of the thirty years war. The idea that we can solve the problem by supporting one side in this war is absolutely delusional. It is only Muslims who can decide locally for themselves whether they wish to live together or to die together. There is a role for the United Nations and the five permanent members—including Russia and China—and we quite possibly could get a resolution through, including all five permanent members, if we but tried.

3.54 pm

Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) (Lab): When it comes to this military intervention in the middle east, we do not have to look in the crystal ball; we can read the book. I am all too familiar with the history of our last military intervention in the region, so I will not support the motion in the Lobby tonight. It is totally disingenuous of colleagues on either side to say that this is a choice between acting and not acting. It is a choice between what sort of action we take—whether we place the emphasis on these military interventions, which are in some ways for show, or on humanitarian and diplomatic work and, above all, on putting pressure on the great powers in the region to step up.

There is something that no one has mentioned: it is quite clear from what ISIL has done in filming the beheadings, putting them on YouTube and ensuring that they have English voice-overs that it is seeking to incite us to bomb. Why does that not give people pause? ISIL wants this to happen because it will make it the heroic Muslim defender against the crusader.

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I do not need to repeat that air strikes on their own will not win a war against ISIL. We will need ground forces. We know that the Iraqi army is wholly inadequate. Inevitably, we will get drawn into Syria—the Prime Minister has admitted as much and has even said that he would wrap it up by saying that he was doing it on humanitarian grounds—but I have not heard much about Turkey and the Kurds. I have one of the largest Turkish-Kurdish communities in the country in north-east London, and I know that the Kurdish community has a long-held aspiration for a Kurdish state, which I support, but it would involve dismembering Syria, Turkey and Iraq. That explains some of Turkey’s ambivalence about this issue.

Some people have said that this is not 2003. Sadly, this reminds me too much of 2003. Yes, it is legal, but there is the same rhetoric: national interest, surgical strikes and populations begging to be liberated. I think that it was Walpole who said of another war that the population are ringing the bells today, but they will be wringing their hands tomorrow. We know that the public want something to be done, but as this war wears on and as it drains us of millions and billions of pounds, the public will ask, “What are we doing there? How are we going to get out?” I cannot support this military intervention. I do not see the strategy, and I do not see the endgame.

3.57 pm

Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): Surely, humility and modesty should be our watchwords in this debate, if only because the reductions we have made to the size of our armed forces across the Army, Navy and, I am afraid, Air Force are so significant; yet we do not seem to have made the same reduction in our leading politicians’ desire to intervene across the world with the relatively modest armed forces that we still have.

I am pleased that there has been quite a strongly pro-American tone in this debate—both from the left and the right—and President Obama has found the words to describe very impressively what the Americans are trying to do. I wish them enormously well in that, but the size of their forces and their ability to intervene is one, if not two orders of magnitude bigger than ours.

We need to think about our record in previous debates. It is only a year ago that we were debating a Government motion to bomb the other side in Syria. It is only three years ago that 557 hon. Members from across the House voted for the intervention in Libya. It is very difficult to say whether anything is better in Libya as a result because it is so dangerous that people cannot tell us what is going on there. That suggests the answer may not be the one that we would wish.

A week or two ago, I went to Calais and met a gentleman, Peter, who had come from Ethiopia through Sudan and Libya to Lampedusa and was then moved on by Italians and left at Bologna to get a train to Paris and then Calais. He is one of thousands of such people. One thing at least that Gaddafi did not do was encourage those boats. He had an agreement with Italy and defended their borders. The change that we have had has not helped us.

We talk of the legitimate, democratic Government in Iraq, but we have pretty much a sectarian Shi’a Government. A little less than perhaps half of the people vote for

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those parties. About a fifth of the country supports the Kurdish parties, which are happy to support the Shi’a regime, as long as they pretty much run things in Kurdistan. A fifth of the country is made up of the Sunnis who are disengaged, to put it at its mildest, from that process. The reason why we have this problem is that they prefer ISIL—or at least many of them do to one degree or another—to the Shi’a sectarian Government who were either persecuting them or not giving them a share of the spoils in that state.

Some people in the House—the right hon. Member for Neath (Mr Hain) is one; my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) is another—have said that they regret their votes on the Iraq war in 2003, but I do not understand what the Prime Minister’s position is. I would feel perhaps more prepared to support the Government if I knew whether he thinks that he made a mistake in 2003. Does he regret that vote, given what has happened, or is it something from which he does not resile? An answer to that would help, and we need to be modest and humble in our decision today.

4 pm

Mr Jeffrey M. Donaldson (Lagan Valley) (DUP): As my party leader, my right hon. Friend the Member for Belfast North (Mr Dodds), has indicated, we will support the motion. We wish our armed forces well in the actions they will be required to take. Like many right hon. and hon. Members, this is not the first time I have been called on to vote on whether we should go to war. If we look at past experiences, we will see that we would be challenged to fault the actions of our armed forces in carrying out the demands we have made of them. The problem we will see as we look back at some of the conflicts we have been involved in is how we have handled the politics afterwards and how we have gone about preventing further conflict in the future.

Jim Shannon: Theodore Roosevelt said:

“Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

The west spoke softly when ISIS crossed into Iraq and when 100,000 Christians were expelled from Mosul with a “convert or die” ultimatum. Does my right hon. Friend feel there is only one option now, and that is to carry the big stick and wield it through military intervention?

Mr Donaldson: On this occasion I think that military intervention in Iraq in support of the Iraqi army and the peshmerga is justified, but how often are we going to be in this situation? I believe that another strategic defence and security review is scheduled for next year, but should we not begin that review now, in the light of all that is happening in the world today, the downsizing of our armed forces and our capacity to respond to the situations we now constantly face? What if another front opens up? What is our capacity to deal with such a situation? As others have said, mission creep is also a concern when entering a conflict without any degree of certainty regarding an end date or a time scale. We need to look at the strategic defence and security review urgently and address whether we are on the right trajectory with regard to the strength and capacity of our armed forces to deal with the situations that confront us.

On the politics, there are clearly huge problems in Iraq and just appointing a new Prime Minister will not fix them in and of themselves. The sectarian issues—which are familiar to us in Northern Ireland—run deep in

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Iraq and we also need to take account of the Kurdish situation. The Northern Ireland Executive has a relationship with the Kurdish Regional Government through a memorandum of understanding and we have been working closely with them. We could do more to help not only the Kurds improve their governance arrangements in Iraq, but the Iraqi Government themselves. Too often, when our armed forces leave the battlefield we do not do enough to invest in the new politics required to enable the post-conflict transformation. We need to put more emphasis on the politics in the future.

The right hon. Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) was absolutely right to say that we need to look at how we can counter this violent extremism. That means countering the narrative, and not just here in the United Kingdom. We need to look at strategies such as Prevent. Are we doing enough in the UK to counter radicalism? Arresting those who we believe or suspect to be involved in preparing for acts of terrorism is one thing, but getting to the root cause and source of that radicalism is something else, and we need to consider that. We also need to help the Arab nations to counter extremism. There is an opportunity, given our involvement in this conflict, to get alongside some of our Arab partners and to work with them to counter extremism and to create a more effective narrative than that which exists at present.

4.4 pm

Andrew Rosindell (Romford) (Con): The events taking place in Iraq and Syria are not simply an attack on our society and our way of life; such barbarism is an attack on humanity. The Prime Minister is right to say that Britain must play its part in defeating such evil. Throughout history, we in these islands, and indeed the entire English-speaking world, have stood firm against aggression in defence of freedom, and so we must again. The barbaric and cruel persecution of minority groups—especially Yazidis, Christians and, indeed, Muslims—that we are witnessing has no place in the world in which we live today.

The United Kingdom has unique military capabilities, which should be extended to preserve the lives of innocent civilians and ultimately to protect the lives of British people. Although it is right for the United Kingdom to provide humanitarian aid, such aid must be consolidated with steadfast military support, which must include providing Kurdish ground forces with suitable resources and delivering air strikes against ISIL.

Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire) (Con): Does my hon. Friend share my alarm at the fact that the territory controlled by ISIS is now larger than the United Kingdom?

Andrew Rosindell: My hon. Friend is absolutely correct, and that is why we must consider taking action in Syria as well as in the area in Iraq that ISIL controls. The Royal Air Force should be there alongside our allies in the United States, Australia and others leading the fight to crush those who seek to inflict such cruelty and wickedness on the people of the middle east. As the Prime Minister has said, the action is also about protecting our people and protecting the streets of Britain. We cannot win the fight alone, and other nations, particularly

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Muslim and Arabic countries, must play their part. We have a global duty to stand together, and every nation dedicated to the cause of humanity must play its part. Walking by on the other side of the road is not an option for any nation in such tragic circumstances.

We must be uncompromising in guarding our own country and our own people. Whatever action is necessary to preserve the safety and security of the British people must be taken. It is right that the United Kingdom play an integral role in building a coalition of nations from across the world that are prepared to stand up to extremist Islamism. Although British action has the full support of Iraq’s Government, we must also recognise that there is now no border between Iraq and Syria, and if battle must be taken there as well, so be it.

Mrs Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware that RAF Akrotiri is only 100 miles from the Syrian border. Will he join me in reinforcing the importance of keeping safe all the dependants of the families who live at RAF Akrotiri and commending them on the role that they play?

Andrew Rosindell: I entirely support what my right hon. Friend has said. RAF Akrotiri is a British sovereign base area and an important overseas territory that we use in such conflicts. The people there must also be protected and looked after.

Many contributions today have played an important part in our debate. To sum up the situation that we face and the decision that we must make, there are no finer words than those spoken by Margaret Thatcher on 22 November 1990, when she told the House:

“To those who have never had to take such decisions, I say that they are taken with a heavy heart and in the knowledge of the manifold dangers, but with tremendous pride in the professionalism and courage of our armed forces.

There is…a sense of this country’s destiny: the centuries of history and experience which ensure that, when principles have to be defended, when good has to be upheld and when evil has to be overcome, Britain will take up arms.”—[Official Report, 22 November 1990; Vol. 181, c. 453.]

Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I briefly seek your guidance. A number of hon. Members have been in the Chamber since half-past 10 but are probably not going to be called. A number of hon. Members in the Chamber have not been here all day and are making interventions. Can we have a ruling on that?

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle): The ruling is that that is not a point of order.

4.9 pm

Mr David Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): In the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, I led a trade union delegation to Kurdistan. I was amazed by the reaction of the people there, who were delighted that our country had invaded that benighted nation. Since then I have learned why that was so. The people in Kurdistan lived through a period where they saw genocide at Halabja, 182,000 people destroyed by Saddam Hussein and 4,500 villages razed to the ground, while the west, including the Government led by Margaret Thatcher, turned its back. While 1 million Iraqis and Iranians were being killed on the battlefields,

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the west turned its back because it was a price worth paying, as Saddam was keeping the Ayatollah occupied.

To take a position today, I went back to those people and said, “What do you think we should do in the House?” The advice from a very close comrade of mine on the ground in the trade union movement in Kurdistan was, “ISIS is a fascist organisation. The only language it understands is force. Under ISIS, trade unions have been, as under Saddam, forced to go underground. Despite recent elections, Iraq is still terribly divided, but the immediate threat of ISIS must be halted and to do that we need external military air support.” That was the clear advice from people at the sharp end, not the intelligence services. We have learned lessons. Things are different today. However, I want to say clearly to the Prime Minister: under no circumstances should this be escalated without Members coming back together. I do not care what he says about circumstances perhaps meaning that he has to act on his own. He should not do that. That is one of the main reasons that the House is held in such contempt.

I am also wary about who the Prime Minister is being advised by. Yesterday at the UN, the Iranian President said that certain intelligence agencies put blades in the hands of madmen and were behind the build-up of ISIS. Some people claim that those agencies were the CIA and Mossad and that they intended, after last year’s failure to take action on Syria, to find another way to make people such as us take and support action. That may not be correct but unless such claims are addressed the people of this country will suspect that this could the back door to action on Syria.

I believe in supporting the people on the ground in Kurdistan. I have to support this action, even though I do not really want to, but I am clear that the Prime Minister should do nothing without the sanction of this House.

4.12 pm

Richard Benyon (Newbury) (Con): If I understood the hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) correctly, he suggested that many Members were perhaps taking this decision lightly. If that is what he said, may I say how wrong he is? I do not believe that we have had a better debate and more thoughtful interventions from both sides of the House. I for one believe that for my generation of Members of this House the well of military intervention has been well and truly poisoned by previous interventions. Our default position is not blindly to go by what Front Benchers might say on such matters. I am going to support the Government on this, for the very good reasons stated by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, who put forward an eloquent case.

We should be mindful of the people of Kobane. My hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi) has just told me about that town, which is in Syria. It should be in our minds tonight because it is surrounded, genocide is taking place and there is an existential threat to the community there. It is not an exception in that region. We are taking a very important decision tonight.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke) put the clearest, most powerful case for a coherent plan. Tonight we are talking about a

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short-term plan. This will resolve a short-term issue. The medium-term plan must be to see the Sunni tribes and the Iraqi and Kurdish forces prevail against ISIS and some level of normality return to those communities, but the long-term plan must see an outcome that perhaps we can only dream of: the good governance that Ban Ki-moon has talked about, and the ejection of ISIL to the fringes of our minds and people’s lives in the region. To achieve that, however, we have to be absolutely resolute; we have to see the kind of work happening in Whitehall that is currently happening in places such as Washington.

In a previous debate, my hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Rory Stewart) raised concerns about the decimation of the thinking in organisations such as the Foreign Office during the past 25 years. We want to see that process reversed.

In the few seconds I have left today, I will just say that I am pleased that the motion refers to the threat to ourselves—to this country. We must not forget that ISIL leaders have exhorted their members to go back and cause terrorism incidents here. I represent a constituency in which many thousands of people travel to London every day, and they get on the tube, as they did on 7 July 2005. We have a duty to them, and to all the British subjects who trade around the world and who are at risk from the kind of kidnapping and extortion that this evil force is carrying out around the world, to support this motion tonight.

4.15 pm

Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab/Co-op): I rise to make a few short remarks, following the learned contributions of other hon. Members.

This is not an easy debate or an easy decision to make; nobody wants to be part of the process of war. However, ISIL represents little but the tools of ego and hate. There is no love, no compassion and no element of progress or development; there is only destruction and power, the violation of women and the murder of whole communities, whether Christian, Yazidi or Muslim. This battle is not against Islam; it is in defence of Islam.

ISIL needs to be stopped, in Iraq and in Syria, by its own Governments and with international support, as needed. In an ideal world, that would be achieved through negotiations, and if the difference between us was a genuinely political one, negotiation would be possible. The problem is that the behaviour of ISIL is not subject to negotiation. ISIL is a cancer that will spread as far as the world will allow it. Standing back is not an option if we believe that humanity is worth fighting for and protecting. To do nothing is to abdicate responsibility and to let ISIL get away with its barbarism.

I have come to the view that we need to play our part in a coalition to support air strikes, but I see no appetite for our boots to be on the ground. ISIL is a huge threat to the stability of Iraq and the wider region, and so far air strikes have been successful in limiting its advance. The action has the support of other Arab nations and is a product of the assistance that has been directly requested by the Iraqi Government.

My biggest concern, however, is the lack of a coherent strategy to go alongside the international coalition’s military action. I hope that in the Deputy Prime Minister’s winding-up speech, we will hear more about an active

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political dialogue, led by Arab nations who put aside their differences to genuinely share responsibility for handling the crisis, providing joined-up humanitarian support and planning for a sustainable peace. The world needs Arab nations to stand up in unity to tackle comprehensively the funding and support that ISIL receives, and to lead this campaign for ISIL’s defeat and a long-term peace.

Any action we take must not create a vacuum that sees any new instability emerge. To those who say it is not our battle, I say this: it is a fight for the whole world. However, any action must also be subject to close scrutiny, and I hope that this House will seriously take its part in that process.

4.18 pm

Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) (LD): It was in February 2003 that I went on the famous march in London, alongside—it is estimated—millions of people around the world. My now wife came on her first ever political protest. I was proud to be part of that movement, and I am proud now that so many in this House have acknowledged that my colleagues on the Liberal Democrat Benches were right to have opposed war then.

However, this situation could not be more different. A democratic sovereign state has asked us for help to deal with one of the most unpleasant terrorist forces that we have ever seen. There is a clear legal case for action, and there is an overwhelming moral case not simply to sit and watch the appalling scenes on television. As a nation—I am pleased that many hon. Members have acknowledged this—we now accept that we have a responsibility precisely because of the mistake of going into Iraq in the first place.

Mr McFadden: The hon. Gentleman says that we have a moral obligation because Iraq is a democratic state. Can he tell the House why it is a democratic state?

Greg Mulholland: This is a very strange time to be seeking to make points about the mistaken invasion of Iraq. The right hon. Gentleman should instead accept some responsibility for his vote, which was so mistaken.

I am also pleased that the House is taking so seriously its most profound responsibility—to vote on whether to send our brave servicemen and women to war. I take that as seriously as anyone, having been up to nearly 20,000 feet with three very brave former and current servicemen who have served and been injured fighting for our country. I have seen at first hand the reality of what that means through the incredible work of the Royal British Legion Battle Back Centre. We are right to take this seriously.

It would be a further tragedy of the disaster of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 if we felt we were unable ever again to intervene as part of an international force, which is what is proposed. This is not simply following America’s coat tails; this is part of a genuine international coalition, and we must do this. We simply cannot turn a blind eye to genocide, ethnic cleansing, and the most appalling sorts of religious persecution we have seen since, frankly, the concentration camps. Then it was an attempt to wipe out the Jewish people and the Jewish

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faith, as well as Poles, Catholics, socialists and Gypsies. Now, Christians, Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’a, Yazidis and people of all faiths and none are being slaughtered, murdered and tortured. The BBC has reported that 3,000 women and children have been sold into the sex trade by people who claim to be doing so on behalf of religion. I understand that we all have anxieties, and we should have them, but I have heard nothing today from those who are voting no or telling us to vote no about the alternative. We cannot negotiate with an evil, maniacal force such as Islamic State, and we should not do so. We must stop that and then we will be assisting a further opportunity for the middle east to go forward again.

Like everyone else, I will be taking this vote seriously and voting with a heavy heart, but as an internationalist and a Liberal, and as someone who believes that this country should not turn its back on what is happening, I believe that this country must take a part in this international coalition, so I will be voting in support of the motion.

4.22 pm

Mrs Madeleine Moon (Bridgend) (Lab): There are things that we agree on: we agree that action is legal; we agree that ISIL is un-Islamic, barbarous and evil, whose violent and horrific behaviour towards captives and opposition forces has horrified the world. We are voting today for six planes to fly missions to weaken ISIL on the ground and to leave it to local forces to undertake ground attacks. It is then that I start to have some major concerns. Who will do that work on the ground? Who will provide the people who will undertake that work? For terrorism to thrive, we need three things—men, money and an ideology that will attract the other two. Sadly, a lot of the money, the men and the ideology have come from those nations that we will now call our allies and on which we will rely to fly missions with us and to take the work on to the ground.

I am concerned that British forces will increasingly be dragged into undertaking that work. I hope that we will hear from the Deputy Prime Minister what guarantees we will have that our Arab allies will take part in this fight, that the NATO forces will not be a smokescreen behind which their inactivity is hidden, and that they will show to their people that they are taking part.

We are told that there is no military solution, only a political solution. For me, a political solution would be a federalist Iraq—a future where there is a Kurdistan, Sunnistan and Shi’astan, working together. Unless we give the Sunni population something to fight for, they will not engage. After all, they have been attacked with barrel bombs and subjected to murder by the regime in Baghdad. They have taken to ISIS because ISIS has been better than the Baghdadi Government.

I want to thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) for her kind words in relation to the British hostages. We must bear in mind that two people are living in fear of their lives while we are having this debate, and all our thoughts must be with them.

Finally, will we also take on the Khorasan group, an al-Qaeda affiliate that is also a major threat in this country, as well as the Ba’athist Naqshbandi organisation, a particularly nasty organisation?

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4.25 pm

Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire) (Con): After six hours and many very good contributions on the substance of this debate, I want to consider the wider constitutional position in which we are placed. During the past decade or two, a convention has started to develop that, except in an emergency, major foreign policy interventions must be pre-approved by a vote in Parliament. The idea springs from honourable motives and it is understandable given the present climate of distrust in politics, but in my judgment it is nevertheless a serious mistake.

It is absolutely right for Parliament to insist on proper democratic accountability where military action is at stake through debates, questions and statements, but the requirement for a prior authorising vote of this House is very different. Yes, it is vital for parliamentarians to maintain the most unreserved communication with their constituents on this matter, as indeed it is on any matter of public importance, but the plain fact is that in matters of foreign policy, with a few signal exceptions, Members of the House are inevitably far less well informed than Ministers who follow and reflect on the issues every day. We do not have the same access to officials and advisers; we are not privy to diplomatic traffic or secret intelligence; and we are not briefed by, and may not demand briefings from, our armed forces. As a large corporate body, we lack the capacity to react quickly and without warning to fast-changing events. The result is delay and a loss of agility and surprise, which ill serves our forces in the field.

Mr Allen: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Jesse Norman: I will not give way. I am afraid that there is no time.

Moreover, I suggest that as a matter of fundamental constitutional principle, extreme care should be exercised over when or whether the House is asked to vote on such matters in future. It is a basic purpose of Parliament —above all, of this Chamber—to hold the Government to account for their actions. It is for the Government, with all their advantages of preparation, information, advice and timeliness, to act, and it is then for this Chamber to scrutinise that action.

If Parliament itself authorises such action in advance, what then? It gives up part of its power of scrutiny; it binds Members in their own minds, rather than allowing them the opportunity to assess each Government decision on its own merits and circumstances; and instead of being forced to explain and justify their actions, Ministers can always take final refuge in saying, “Well, you authorised it.” Thus, far from strengthening Parliament, it weakens it and the Government: it weakens the dynamic tension between the two sides from which proper accountability and effective policy must derive.

On 3 April 1982, the House was recalled by Mrs Thatcher for the Falklands war debate. It was a Saturday—the first time that the House had been so recalled since Suez. Tempers were high. The atmosphere was one of crisis. The taskforce was about to sail. It was a matter of peace or war. The very sovereignty of this nation was at stake. Yet what was the motion that day? It was:

“That this House do now adjourn.”

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When, in calmer days, the Government come to reflect on these proceedings, I hope that they will heed the wisdom in that—

Mr Speaker: Order.

4.28 pm

Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): At this late hour, I will not repeat any of the arguments made earlier in the debate. I will vote for the motion. I just want to make two points that have not been fully covered so far.

My first point is that in his speech the Prime Minister said that it might be necessary to take the fight against ISIL into Syria. I think that that probably will be necessary at some stage. He said that it might not be possible for him to seek authority from the House before doing so. He has undoubtedly taken legal advice about whether such action would be in accord with international law. Will he put a summary of that advice before the House at the earliest possible date, and will he share full copies of the legal advice in relation to action both in Iraq and in Syria, on Privy Council terms, with Opposition Front Benchers?

My second point is that our country’s security depends on a doctrine of collective security provided through NATO. The summit in Wales discussed ISIL and concluded that ISIL

“poses a grave threat to the Iraqi people, to the Syrian people, to the wider region, and to our nations”

and that if

“the security of any Ally is threatened, we will not hesitate to take all necessary steps to ensure our collective defence.”

We cannot opt out of the commitment made in Wales. We must, as a United Kingdom, bear our part of the collective burden. I could not hold up my head in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly if our country were to duck out and to leave it to the United States, France and our Arab partners to deal with this difficult problem. We need to contribute to global security and not be a passive consumer of security provided by others.

The decision whether to go to war, when it comes before the House, is always one of the most difficult and serious decisions that we elected Members of Parliament have to make. There is rarely a right answer as to what to do in such circumstances. We must look for the least worst option. Engaging militarily, though ugly, is necessary and I urge Members to vote for the motion.

4.31 pm

Simon Reevell (Dewsbury) (Con): I will significantly reduce what I was going to say to the content of an e-mail that I was sent by two constituents who live in a small village called Shelley. They had sat up and talked about the situation, because they realised the seriousness of the prospect of war. They had had on their minds the civilian casualties that may follow and the dire consequences for hostages if the country takes part in air strikes. What they said encapsulates why I will support the motion:

“There comes a time when it is paramount for the collective to defend citizens of other nations whose government can’t defend them. There is also a need to show that as a country we are prepared to defend our own citizens.”

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4.32 pm

Barry Gardiner (Brent North) (Lab): The motion is the result of our failure to develop a sustained, coherent and strategic policy in the middle east. ISIL has a 10-year track record both in Iraq and in Syria, but the question we should ask is how has it become so strong. Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism assessed that ISIL was funded from the very countries with which we now propose to ally ourselves—Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait—and whose refusal to put in place any serious financial controls has seen hundreds of millions of dollars siphoned off to ISIL and other jihadists. What pressure did the UK Government put on those Governments to tighten the noose around that flow of funds? Did we talk of sanctions or of freezing accounts in London? Of course not. The Government were too busy trying to clinch the £4.4 billion deal for the 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia. That was our Government’s priority. It should have been otherwise.

Now that ISIL are regarded by its former paymasters as too big for its boots, we are joining forces with them to degrade ISIL’s capacity and to cut it back down to size, but we are told that there is no intention to have boots on the ground. What an assurance that is. Of course there will be no boots on the ground. The Sunni states in the middle east do not want to destroy ISIL. They want it to remain as a thorn in the flesh of the Iraqi Government. This Government is not America’s poodle; it is the poodle of the Sunni states. Britain could have exerted real influence on the Maliki Government, but we turned a blind eye as the Iraqi Government ruled as faction and thug. Where was our Government’s attention? It was on Syria, but who did we want to degrade there? It was not ISIL, but Bashar al-Assad. The Government have made foolish alliances and alienated countries such as Russia that could have helped. They have been pathetically weak in bringing our so-called friends to book, and they are deluding themselves—or, worse, the public—with any suggestion that air strikes against ISIL are a sufficient response to the wider hell that is the Sunni-Shi’a conflict.

I have three questions. What demands about inclusive government, and what potential sanctions, has the UK placed upon Prime Minister al-Abadi in Iraq as preconditions of our involvement? What assessment have the Government made of the warning by the Royal United Services Institute that

“limited air strikes could serve to further legitimise ISIS?”

Finally, what demands has the UK placed on Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states about cutting off funding for Wahabist jihadi groups around the globe?

The Prime Minister says that we are fighting for democratic values, but those we are fighting with are not democracies. In joining them, we are not protecting democracy. They are the last absolute theocratic monarchies on the planet, and we join them at our peril.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: Order. A one-minute thesis from Mr Richard Drax.

4.35 pm

Richard Drax (South Dorset) (Con): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have two small points to make in one minute.

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First, I pay tribute to our armed forces. It looks as though, tonight, they will once again be put on the front line and in harm’s way. The few, who have become fewer, will once again be flying over enemy skies. Our thoughts will be with them and their families and if, God forbid, they are shot down, with those who have to go and pick them up off the sand—it is not just the pilots who will be involved.

Secondly, there is no doubt that ISIL is a risk to the stability of the middle east. It is therefore certainly a risk to the future of world stability, which affects us and our future security. In my view, there is no doubt that we should get involved. We cannot wash our hands of the situation and walk away on this occasion. I will support the motion, and I am personally grateful to the Prime Minister for calling us back here to debate a subject that is really more important to us than any other—taking our country once more, regrettably, to war.

4.36 pm

Mr Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (Lab): The tone and content of the contributions to the debate have done justice to the seriousness of the motion before the House. We have heard contributions from former Defence Secretaries, former personnel from our armed forces and a range of other distinguished voices. Given the limited time available, I hope the House will forgive me if I do not acknowledge individually the full breadth of important contributions that we have heard over the past six hours.

As the Leader of the Opposition has already made clear, we will support the Government in the Lobby this afternoon. For many of us, the decision about the use of British military force in Iraq is a wrenching one. The Opposition support the motion not because we are eager for conflict, or because we are unaware of recent history, or simply because we wish to show support for our armed forces. We do so because we believe the action meets the criteria that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has set down—that it is a just cause; that the proposed action is a last resort; that it is proportionate; that it has a reasonable prospect of success; that it has a clear legal base; and that it has broad regional support.

I trust that Members in all parts of the House will be united in their wholehearted support for the men and women who will take part in this perilous action with their characteristic skill, courage and devotion to duty. However, this is a Parliament of women and men of free will and independent judgment. There are real worries, anxieties and concerns in all parts of the House, and they must be listened and responded to with respect. The Government’s motion accordingly makes it clear that they are seeking authority to act in Iraq, and that a separate parliamentary vote would be required for any proposed military action in Syria. Although the Opposition support the action taken in Syria this week by the Americans and by the air forces of five Arab nations, we believe that holding a separate vote if action in Syria were contemplated would be the right course of action.

We are all aware that international military intervention in Syria in recent years has been a subject of international controversy, and that legitimacy matters to the effectiveness of such missions. We all know that Syria is experiencing a multi-layered, multifaceted civil war, yet the issue of

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who could conduct ground operations in Syria at this time remains wholly unclear as the debate concludes. There also remains no real clarity about the wider political strategy for transition in Syria. Our mind is not closed, and we have not made the agreement of a Security Council resolution a condition for considering future action. However, given the history of recent military interventions, the British people both want and deserve a cautious, considered and calibrated approach when military action is contemplated.

Sir Richard Ottaway: The right hon. Gentleman has just set out the position on a UN Security Council resolution. If such a resolution is tabled and vetoed, what will the Labour party’s position be on intervention in Syria?

Mr Alexander: As I have just sought to explain, our moral compass is not set in Moscow or Beijing; we think it would be better to have the world’s principal multilateral forum—the United Nations—consider this matter. We have said very clearly that there is a legal basis for action, and that is the basis on which we have provided support to the five Arab nations and to the American action in Syria in recent days. However, as I have sought to reflect in my remarks, there is an issue of legality and legitimacy. Given the controversy that has surrounded international action in Syria in recent years, we think that any actions that can secure broader legitimacy would assist in the completion of that mission.

Let me make a little progress. The motion also makes clear that the Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations in Iraq. Not only is there little or no public or parliamentary support for such action; it would also risk many of the same cruel frustrations of the last difficult and painful mission in Iraq. Just as fundamentally, however, UK combat troops in ground operations would undermine an essential point that needs to be made again and again to the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi people: this has to be their fight. We, the international community, cannot win this battle for them.

Let me turn directly to the adversaries identified by the motion. ISIL’s callousness and barbarism, including the taking and murdering of British hostages, has been well rehearsed in this debate; so, too, has their expansionary ambition to establish a caliphate at the heart of the middle east. Let no one here suggest that we are now engaged in a conflict with “Islamic State”. As the Secretary-General of the United Nations rightly observed earlier this week, they should more fittingly be called “UnIslamic Non-State” because no faith or God condones or justifies their barbarism.

We are not and never will be in conflict with Islam. Islam teaches peace. Given that millions of our fellow British citizens of Muslim faith are woven into the very fabric of our communities and country, let us resolve, individually and collectively, to extend the hand of solidarity and friendship to our British brothers and sisters who follow the Muslim faith.

It is also vital that the Government should step up their counter-radicalisation work, as my right hon. Friend the shadow Home Secretary has repeatedly urged at this Dispatch Box. Every effort must be made by our brave and dedicated security services to identify, monitor and respond effectively to the threat posed by radicalised British citizens returning to the UK from the region.

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As a number of Members have reflected, the fight against ISIL is, at its core, a struggle about the future of Sunni Arabs, so it is crucial that Sunni Governments have not only offered support but are participating in this multilateral mission. Only Sunni participation stands a chance of convincing ordinary Arabs and Sunnis in Iraq that the fight with ISIL is also their fight. Yet as many hon. Members have recognised, such wars are not won through air power alone. ISIL cannot be defeated without someone to replace it on the ground. Notwithstanding the capabilities of the Peshmerga, that will take time, given the current condition of the Iraqi security forces. Nor would it be acceptable or desirable for the Shi’a militia, who have played an important role in halting ISIL’s advance on Baghdad, to play a central role in liberating predominantly Sunni cities. Air strikes are essential, however, to stem ISIL’s advance and degrade their operations.

However, we should be clear that the objective of disrupting, degrading and weakening ISIL must be in the service of creating the conditions for new forms of governance in Sunni parts of Iraq. Maliki’s sectarian rule was disastrous for not only Iraqi armed forces but Iraqi society. Iraq now needs to rebuild its armed forces in ways that reflect the need to restore confidence among its Sunni population. It still has a long way to go on that path. This military action must be underpinned by a clear political strategy and it is vital that the Iraqis themselves drain the sectarian impulses that sustain ISIL in Sunni areas of Iraq today.

The commencement of military action must not be a signal that the time for diplomatic, humanitarian and political action is over. This challenge will test not just our military strength but our diplomatic and political skills and stamina—challenging, yes, traditional allies in the Gulf as well as engaging with other countries in the region such as Iran. The House has the privilege of discussion but also the responsibility of decision. All of us who will support and stand with the Government today must also have the humility to acknowledge that at this moment we cannot say with certainty all that lies ahead. Even limited military intervention brings with it unforeseen and uncertain consequences, but by the decision that we make today we will be supporting action to prevent the foreseeable and certain killing of Sunni, Shi’a, Kurdish, Christian and Yazidi Iraqis by ISIL. We will be supporting action which has broad support in the region, and which follows a direct request from a democratically elected Government of Iraq.

We have a legal, political and moral mandate to act to resist ISIL in Iraq. That is the international community’s responsibility, and that should be Britain’s choice, so that must be the House’s decision. I urge all Members to support the motion.

4.45 pm

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg): This six-hour debate has been at all times thoughtful, respectful and sober, on an issue of great significance and also of great complexity. In the time that remains, I want to address myself to those who have spoken out worrying that we are doing too much and possibly repeating the mistakes of the past, and to those who, conversely, feel that we might be doing too little and should be going further, or that we are embarking on a piecemeal strategy. I also want to underline the significance of the voices of

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Members in all parts of the House who have spoken out so emphatically against those who might interpret this as a conflict of religions—as a “west versus the rest”.

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab) rose

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) (Con) rose

The Deputy Prime Minister: Before I give way, let me join the right hon. Member for Salford and Eccles (Hazel Blears) and others who stood in solidarity and spoke out in support of the families and loved ones of Alan Henning and John Cantlie. It is impossible to imagine the anguish that they must be going through. I also join the hon. Member for South Dorset (Richard Drax), the right hon. Member for Mid Sussex (Sir Nicholas Soames), the right hon. Member for Belfast North (Mr Dodds) and others who said how important it was for us to bear in mind the great courage and professionalism of our servicemen and women who are once again being asked to put themselves in danger’s way for our collective safety.

John McDonnell: Does the Deputy Prime Minister agree with the stance of the Prime Minister, who supports a policy of not coming back to the House to ask for approval of further action, whether it is action against Syria or boots on the ground?

The Deputy Prime Minister: What the Prime Minister said, and what I think every reasonable person would accept, is that if any Government at any point find that they need to act very quickly indeed to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe or to protect British citizens here or abroad, clearly the Government of the day have the right—[Interruption.] There may be circumstances in which action needs to be taken in a matter of hours or overnight.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown rose

The Deputy Prime Minister: I will give way in a minute, but let me first say to those who worry about echoes of the debate about Iraq that took place in 2003—I felt that the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton South East (Mr McFadden) spoke very articulately about this—that of course we should avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, but that does not mean that we should be trapped by the past. Of course we should learn from the past, but we should not be paralysed by it. Let me say to all those who, like me, campaigned against an attack on Iraq in 2003 that I do not hesitate, and I think many others do not hesitate, in advocating now that we should act to defend Iraq following a request from the Iraqi Government—the legitimate Iraqi Government.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: Had I been able to speak in the debate, I would have asked my right hon. Friend if he could reassure the House by telling us exactly what criteria Her Majesty’s Government will use to judge when ISIL has been sufficiently degraded that it no longer poses a military threat.

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The Deputy Prime Minister: I think that the point at which ISIL can no longer act with the menace and brutality with which it acts at present will be quite obvious on the ground. However, as many people have pointed out, we are not pretending, and no one should pretend, that air strikes on their own are the solution. That is why I want to address myself to those—including the right hon. Members for Croydon South (Sir Richard Ottaway), for Neath (Mr Hain), the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Meg Munn), the right hon. Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox) and the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell)—who have suggested that we should now take the decision also to embark on air strikes in Syria.

It is important to remember that, as has been pointed out by the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) and others, there are complexities in Syria which are not present in Iraq. There are differences. The fact that we are not embarking on air strikes in Syria does not mean that we are inactive in Syria. We train, equip and advise the forces in Syria whom we wish to support in Syria. In one sense, by choosing to play one part in the wider jigsaw of this coalition effort that now comprises 60 nations undertaking different forms of action—military, diplomatic, political and humanitarian —we are saying quite overtly that we are doing one part of what we judge we can do best right now, but not pretending that we can do everything all at once. Just because we cannot do everything does surely not mean that we do nothing, and that is the sensible stance that we are taking.

Oliver Colvile (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport) (Con): I thank my right hon. Friend for giving way. We have heard a great deal about the role the RAF will play, but what about the Royal Navy—especially our submarine fleet?

The Deputy Prime Minister: Clearly, all our assets are available. As my hon. Friend will know, the Ministry of Defence has Tomahawk-capable submarines, and the Royal Navy has several vessels available in the Persian gulf.

May I compliment the thoughtful interventions of the hon. Members for Penrith and The Border (Rory Stewart) and for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi) who quite rightly highlighted the fact that any military action can only seek to create the conditions in which a diplomatic and political process can take hold. All we can try to do is to work with other countries in an effort led by Arab nations in the region to create the conditions in which good governance can take root in both Iraq and Syria. As Ban Ki-moon said, at the end of day, bombs can kill terrorists but good governance is what kills terrorism.

Michael Ellis (Northampton North) (Con): Does the Deputy Prime Minister agree that there would be concern if we abrogated responsibility in connection with Syria to the United Nations Security Council—I am talking about potential punitive action—because it would be tantamount to leaving it to Vladimir Putin to consent or deny?

The Deputy Prime Minister: That is not the subject of the debate today. Clearly, the United Nations always plays a role in such matters. The UN Security Council has already pronounced against ISIL over the past

26 Sep 2014 : Column 1359

several weeks. The conditions were neither available nor legally necessary for a chapter VII resolution to be passed.

There was strong feeling from all parts of the House today. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Shabana Mahmood), who is not in her place, spoke out as someone of the Sunni Muslim faith. Like the right hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire South (Mr Alexander), she said that Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state. She said that the greatest antidote to its perversion of Islam is moderate, peace-loving Muslim communities elsewhere and in this country. As the hon. Member for Stourbridge (Margot James), the right hon. Members for Salford and Eccles, and for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) and the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) said, that is why it is so important for us to work closely with all those individuals, families, community organisations and religious leaders who have spoken out with great, great courage and strength of feeling at a time of rising Islamophobia and increasing anxiety in many Muslim communities. They say ISIL is as much of a potent threat to their way of life and their religion as it is to anybody else’s.

Jason McCartney (Colne Valley) (Con): We have heard a lot about failed military interventions in this part of the world today, but does he agree that the one successful one was the no-fly zone over northern Iraq in the 1990s that allowed the Kurdistan region to flourish as a democratic, prosperous and religious tolerant part of the world. I met Kurdish students at Huddersfield university during the summer. As well as responding to Iraq, let us respond to the Kurds. Does he agree?

The Deputy Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is entirely right to say that we as a country played a role in that intervention. That allowed the space for the Kurdish authorities to find their own feet, metaphorically speaking, and to decide their own fate. The assistance we are giving in terms of lethal equipment, advice and training and the longstanding partnership we have with the Kurdish authorities will play an extraordinarily important role in Iraq, combined of course with the work that we must do with the Iraqi army to ensure that as we and other members of the coalition deliver air strikes—Denmark has just announced that it will be taking a similar route—the Kurdish authorities, the peshmerga and the Iraqi army will be able to push hard against ISIL on the ground.

Caroline Lucas: The language around air strikes sounds very clean and precise, but we know that in reality they are anything but. Does the Deputy Prime Minister genuinely believe that all other measures, political and diplomatic, with Saudi Arabia, with Iran, have properly been pursued before we go down the route of yet more bombing? Does he agree with those of us who think that the alternative to bombing is not doing nothing but making the redoubled diplomatic and political efforts that we need, which we have not seen? That should be at the centre of this debate.

The Deputy Prime Minister: Whilst I regret this, and everybody on both sides of the House may regret it, there are times when it is simply impossible to reason with your foe. There is no diplomatic initiative that would be recognised by ISIL. It is a barbaric, murderous outfit, which by its actions and its pronouncements has shown that it cannot be reasoned with.

26 Sep 2014 : Column 1360

As for the hon. Lady’s suggestion that this action is precipitate, I completely reject that. For week after week after week, great restraint has been shown, most especially by President Obama, who has been under considerable political pressure to act more precipitately. He has said, sensibly, as have we, “No; a coalition”—of what are now 60 nations—“must first be assembled. Countries from the region must play an active role”—as they are. “We need to receive a request from the Government itself—the Iraqi Government, a Muslim Government”—as we have done. “We must discuss this at NATO”—as we have done. “We must discuss this at the United Nations” —as we have done. I do not think that anyone could reasonably accuse this House, this Government or the international coalition of acting precipitately.

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): Does the Deputy Prime Minister agree that it would have been preferable to have a UN resolution?

The Deputy Prime Minister: Of course it would be preferable, but as the former Attorney-General, the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield, pointed out, given the legal clarity which serves as the basis for our actions, namely the request from a sovereign Government, a legitimate Government—the Iraqi Government—that UN resolution is not necessary. It has equally been made clear that there are other members of the Security Council who simply were not prepared to allow for a chapter VII resolution to proceed.

Robert Flello: Will the Deputy Prime Minister give way?

The Deputy Prime Minister: I will give way, but then I must make progress.

Robert Flello: Given that there are many in the House who have very strong concerns about this—I will vote for the motion, but with a very heavy heart—will the Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister commit to coming back to the House very regularly, particularly early in October when we return, to make statements to the House, to keep us apprised of what is going on and what further measures are needed?

The Deputy Prime Minister: Of course we undertake to provide regular updates to the House. By the way, the feeling with which the hon. Gentleman describes his own sentiments, “with a heavy heart”, is one that I think everyone shares. There is nothing other than great seriousness around this issue, and that is the tone in which it has been dealt with during the last six hours of debate.

Finally, I want to echo those who said that at the end of the day, this is also something which speaks to our values. Both sides of the House believe in tolerance; ISIL believes in hate. We believe in co-existence; they believe in division. We believe in freedom of speech; they believe in the tyranny of thought. That is why I urge the House to support the motion today. We must act. We do so mindful of the mistakes and lessons of the past, but we do so with lawful authority, with clear objectives and with the support and active participation of a broad coalition of international opinion which is saying to ISIL, “Enough is enough.” That is why I commend the motion to the House.

Question put.

The House divided:

Ayes 524, Noes 43.

Division No. 53]


4.59 pm


Abrahams, Debbie

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Danny

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Amess, Mr David

Anderson, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Balls, rh Ed

Banks, Gordon

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, rh Gregory

Barron, rh Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Bebb, Guto

Beckett, rh Margaret

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benn, rh Hilary

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berger, Luciana

Berry, Jake

Betts, Mr Clive

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Blackman, Bob

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blackwood, Nicola

Blears, rh Hazel

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brennan, Kevin

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, rh Annette

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Brown, Mr Russell

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Buck, Ms Karen

Buckland, Mr Robert

Burden, Richard

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burnham, rh Andy

Burns, Conor

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, rh Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byles, Dan

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Cable, rh Vince

Cairns, Alun

Cameron, rh Mr David

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Cash, Sir William

Champion, Sarah

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clappison, Mr James

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clegg, rh Mr Nick

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Cooper, rh Yvette

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crausby, Mr David

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Danczuk, Simon

Darling, rh Mr Alistair

Davey, rh Mr Edward

David, Wayne

Davies, David T. C.


Davies, Geraint

Davies, Glyn

de Bois, Nick

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dobson, rh Frank

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Dorries, Nadine

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Dromey, Jack

Duddridge, James

Dugher, Michael

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Engel, Natascha

Esterson, Bill

Eustice, George

Evans, Chris

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, Mr David

Fallon, rh Michael

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, rh Lynne

Field, rh Mr Frank

Field, Mark

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fovargue, Yvonne

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francis, Dr Hywel

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fullbrook, Lorraine

Fuller, Richard

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gilbert, Stephen

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glass, Pat

Glen, John

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodman, Helen

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Greatrex, Tom

Green, rh Damian

Green, Kate

Greening, rh Justine

Greenwood, Lilian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffith, Nia

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gwynne, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Hain, rh Mr Peter

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Fabian

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hancock, Mr Mike

Hands, rh Greg

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Harris, Mr Tom

Harvey, Sir Nick

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Havard, Mr Dai

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Healey, rh John

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Hendrick, Mark

Hendry, Charles

Herbert, rh Nick

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hood, Mr Jim

Hopkins, Kris

Horwood, Martin

Howarth, rh Mr George

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunt, Tristram

Hurd, Mr Nick

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Javid, rh Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Graham

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Mr Marcus

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Joyce, Eric

Kane, Mike

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kelly, Chris

Kendall, Liz

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamb, rh Norman

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Leslie, Chris

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Lewis, Dr Julian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Long, Naomi

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Ian

Luff, Sir Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Main, Mrs Anne

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maude, rh Mr Francis

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McCrea, Dr William

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McKinnell, Catherine

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McVey, rh Esther

Meacher, rh Mr Michael

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Miller, rh Maria

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morden, Jessica

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mulholland, Greg

Mundell, rh David

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Mr Jim

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

Neill, Robert

Newmark, Mr Brooks

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, rh Mr Stephen

Offord, Dr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Onwurah, Chi

Opperman, Guy

Osborne, rh Mr George

Osborne, Sandra

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Owen, Albert

Paice, rh Sir James

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perkins, Toby

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Phillipson, Bridget

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Pritchard, Mark

Pugh, John

Raab, Mr Dominic

Randall, rh Sir John

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Robathan, rh Mr Andrew

Robertson, rh Sir Hugh

Robertson, John

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Rudd, Amber

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sarwar, Anas

Sawford, Andy

Seabeck, Alison

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Sheridan, Jim

Shuker, Gavin

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, David

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, Angela

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Soubry, Anna

Spellar, rh Mr John

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Tami, Mark

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thornberry, Emily

Thornton, Mike

Timms, rh Stephen

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Trickett, Jon

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Turner, Mr Andrew

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Uppal, Paul

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walley, Joan

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Watts, Mr Dave

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, rh Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Roger

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Chris

Williamson, Gavin

Willott, Jenny

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, rh Jeremy

Wright, Simon

Yeo, Mr Tim

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mark Hunter


Gavin Barwell


Abbott, Ms Diane

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baron, Mr John

Begg, Dame Anne

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Caton, Martin

Clark, Katy

Davidson, Mr Ian

Durkan, Mark

Edwards, Jonathan

Flynn, Paul

Galloway, George

Henderson, Gordon

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hoey, Kate

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Huppert, Dr Julian

James, Mrs Siân C.

Lazarowicz, Mark

Lucas, Caroline

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

McDonnell, John

McKenzie, Mr Iain

Mills, Nigel

Mitchell, Austin

Morris, Grahame M.


Mudie, Mr George

Reckless, Mark

Riordan, Mrs Linda

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, Angus

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Stringer, Graham

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Williams, Hywel

Wood, Mike

Tellers for the Noes:

Jeremy Corbyn


Pete Wishart

Question accordingly agreed to.

26 Sep 2014 : Column 1361

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26 Sep 2014 : Column 1363

26 Sep 2014 : Column 1364

26 Sep 2014 : Column 1365


That this House condemns the barbaric acts of ISIL against the peoples of Iraq including the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians and Yazidi and the humanitarian crisis this is causing; recognises the clear threat ISIL poses to the territorial integrity of Iraq and the request from the Government of Iraq for military support from the international community and the specific request to the UK Government for such support; further recognises the threat ISIL poses to wider international security and the UK directly through its sponsorship of terrorist attacks and its murder of a British hostage; acknowledges the broad coalition contributing to military support of the Government of Iraq including countries throughout the Middle East; further acknowledges the request of the Government of Iraq for international support to defend itself against the threat ISIL poses to Iraq and its citizens and the clear legal basis that this provides for action in Iraq; notes that this motion does not endorse UK air strikes in Syria as part of this campaign and any proposal to do so would be subject to a separate vote in Parliament; accordingly supports Her Majesty’s Government, working with allies, in supporting the Government of Iraq in protecting civilians and restoring its territorial integrity,

26 Sep 2014 : Column 1366

including the use of UK air strikes to support Iraqi, including Kurdish, security forces’ efforts against ISIL in Iraq; notes that Her Majesty’s Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations; and offers its wholehearted support to the men and women of Her Majesty’s armed forces.

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister has informed us that he will take action without parliamentary authority if he feels it necessary. May I place on record an appeal to you, Mr Speaker, that if there is any indication of further action beyond the remit of this motion, that you consider yourself to have the power to convene the House?

Mr Speaker: I am guided by and must operate within the Standing Orders of the House. I am not under the Standing Orders of the House so empowered. However, for the time being—I say this in the best possible spirit—I will simply note that the hon. Gentleman has expressed his view with his customary force. It is on the record.


Resolved, That this House do now adjourn.—(Mel Stride.)

5.16 pm

House adjourned.