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Britain's Labour in disarray over Syria air strikes vote

AFP , Friday 27 Nov 2015
Jeremy - UK
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo:Reuters)
Views: 919
Views: 919

Top figures in Britain's main opposition Labour Party heaped criticism on their leader Jeremy Corbyn on Friday after he ruled out voting for the Royal Air Force to join air strikes in Syria.

One member of the shadow cabinet, speaking anonymously to the right-leaning Daily Telegraph, said radical leftist Corbyn was "no longer fit to run the Labour Party", citing a "breakdown of trust."

Another told the BBC: "There will be resignations among senior members of the shadow cabinet over this."

But Hilary Benn, shadow foreign minister, said he would not leave even though he backs military action.

"This is very complex, it is very difficult and each individual in the end will reach their own decision about what they think the right thing to do is," Benn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"I respect those who take a different view," he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron made his case for air strikes to parliament on Thursday ahead of a vote expected next week in which dozens of Labour MPs are expected to defy Corbyn and vote with the government.

But many MPs are still troubled by the memory of unpopular British interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan under then Labour prime minister Tony Blair.

In a letter issued hours after Cameron's speech, Corbyn said the prime minister had failed to make a "convincing case" for joining the conflict.

A showdown between Corbyn and dissenting Labour MPs is expected at a meeting on Monday where the party is expected to decide whether its lawmakers can vote freely on the issue or must adhere to a party line.

One shadow minister, Emily Thornberry, said there was a "brutally honest" debate within the party and some Labour MPs have called on Corbyn to resign.

Corbyn's relations with the party's more centrist MPs have been strained since he was elected to lead the party in September thanks to a surge in grassroots support due to his strong anti-austerity message.

He has been a leading anti-war campaigner for decades and helped organise one of Britain's biggest ever rallies in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


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27-11-2015 03:26pm
Air strikes are useless
Every Western country is now racing to show support for France and plan airstrikes to wipe ISIS. The US has the world largest, most advances, and best trained air force, and still could not take out ISIS from the air. What could the UK or France do from the air the US couldn’t, except symbolic Ra Ra Ra. Only serious ground troops can take out ISIS; not Western troops, they would cause more sign up; not Iraqi or Syrian troops, they are useless; but capable Egyptian troops with US air support.
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