Owen Smith: We will have to hold peace talks with Isis eventually

Posted On: 
17th August 2016

Owen Smith today backed peace talks with Isil terrorists in a bid to end the war in Syria.

Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn were debating live on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show

The Labour leadership hopeful said the Islamist group will need to be invited to the negotiating table "eventually" in an attempt to resolve the long-running conflict.

In contrast, Jeremy Corbyn insisted Isil must not be involved in any talks between the opposing factions and the international community.

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The latest split between the pair emerged during a live TV debate on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show.

Both Mr Smith and Mr Corbyn last year voted against sending RAF jets to bomb Isil targets in Syria, although the Commons as a whole backed military action.

The Labour leader said that any peace talks must involve representatives of the country's brutal Assad regime.

But asked if the talks would involve anyone from Isil, Mr Corbyn said: "No, they're not going to be round the table, no."

Mr Smith, who was involved in the Northern Ireland peace talks while an adviser to the last Labour government, said: "My view is ultimately that all political solutions to these sorts of crises do come about through dialogue, so eventually if we are to try and solve this all of the actors do need to be involved.

"But at the moment Isil are clearly not interested in negotiating. At some point, for us to resolve this, we will need to get people round the table."

The pair also clashed over Britain's nuclear deterrent, with Mr Smith again saying he would be prepared to authorise its use if he became Prime Minister - something Mr Corbyn has consistently ruled out.