'More than 50' Labour MPs could back military action in Syria

Posted On: 
11th October 2015

More than 50 Labour MPs could be prepared to back a plan for British military forces to intervene in Syria, according to the Observer newspaper.

Labour MP Jo Cox and Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell have outlined a programme of action that would have “protection of civilians at the heart of the mission”.

It could potentially include the use of troops to enforce “safe havens” for Syrians within their own country, alongside no-fly zones and strikes on so-called Islamic State targets.

“Some may think that a military component has no place in an ethical response to Syria. We completely disagree,” Ms Cox and Mr Mitchell write in the newspaper.

“It is not ethical to wish away the barrel bombs from the Syrian government when you have the capacity to stop them. The deaths and fear generated by these indiscriminate air attacks are the main drivers of the refugee crisis in Europe. Nor is it ethical to watch when villages are overrun by Isis fighters, who make sex slaves of children and slaughter their fellow Muslims, when we have the capability to hold them back.”

Senior Labour sources have told the Observer that between 50 and 100 of the party’s MPs could support such action.

Ms Cox, a former head of policy at Oxfam, is launching an all-party group on Syria this week.

David Cameron and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon have been making the case for Britain to extend airstrikes, which are currently being conducted against IS in Iraq, into Syria.

Jeremy Corbyn has said he would oppose military action, but indicated Labour MPs could get a free vote on the issue.