Clive Lewis to Labour war supporters: On your heads be it
Jeremy Corbyn has granted his MPs a free vote on on whether the UK should join airstrikes against Isil targets in the country when the motion comes before the Commons tomorrow.
But following a fractious meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party last night, Mr Lewis, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, said of Labour MPs who vote for action: “On their heads be it”.
“Ultimately, if the war in Syria extends as a conflagration, there are more terrorist atrocities and the war extends with no end, then we will obviously be looking at who voted for this, and when the blame is apportioned, step forward,” he said.
Veteran left-winger David Winnick meanwhile claimed MPs who back bombing were facing a "shakedown" and threats of de-selection from the pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum.
Mr Corbyn also came under fire for polling loyal party members on the Syria question, which some MPs saw as a scare-tactic from the leader to back his anti-war position.
Former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said: "We cannot unite the party if the leader's office is determined to divide us."
Several Labour MPs also attacked Ken Livingstone, a key ally of Mr Corbyn and co-chair of Labour's defence policy review, over the former London Mayor's comments that the 7/7 bombers "gave their lives" in protest at the Iraq War.
One MP told PoliticsHome after the meeting: "It was like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest."
Another said: "Jeremy had absolutely no answers for any of the points that were made to him. The general feeling is that enough is enough."
However, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn later insisted the leader still had the support of his MPs.
He said: "There was significant support for the leader. There was a wide debate, with people speaking on both sides of the arguments.
"It was always going to be a bumpy ride when you have a leader who was elected by a large number outside parliament, but whose support in the PLP is quite limited.
"There are a small number who find it hard to come to terms with that result."