Georgina Pattinson presents highlights of Wednesday 2 December in Parliament.
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Hello and welcome to Wednesday in Parliament,
MPs vote to allow air strikes against the terror group
The noes to the left, 223. Sodhi ayes have it -- so, the ayes have
it. At the start of a marathon debate,
the Prime Minister said defeating In action is a choice. I believe it
is the wrong choice. In a day-long debate, the House
of Commons has discussed the government's proposals for carrying
out airstrikes in Syria against The Prime Minister told the House
that the aim of military action was to "keep the British people safe"
from terror attacks. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
opposed that stance - although his view was not
representative of every one of his The day began with the
Prime Minister's opening statement. I wish to call the prime Minister.
The question before the House today is how we keep the British people
safe from the threat posed by Isil. Let me be clear, this is not about
whether we want to fight terrorism, it is about how best we do that.
Since November last year, our security forces have foiled no fewer
than seven plots against our people, so the threat is real, and the
question is, do we work with our allies to destroy this threat, and
do we go after these terrorists in their heart lands, or do we sit back
and wait for them to attack us? The Prime Minister took
interventions early on in his speech, when MPs asked him to
apologise for reportedly saying opponents of military action were
terrorist sympathisers. No-one on this side of the House
will make a decision based on any such remarks, nor will we be
threatened into, from doing what we believe is the right thing, whether
those threats come from online activists or indeed from our own
dispatch box. I completely agree with the honourable gentleman.
Everyone in this House should make up their mind on the argument in
this House, and there is honour in voting for and against. We should be
clear what air strikes alone can't achieve. We don't need ground troops
to hit the headquarters of Daesh, their supply routes and training
facilities and weapons suppliers. The Prime Minister defended his
claim there were 70,000 moderate opposition fighters in Syria, saying
it was the estimate of the Joint Intelligence Committee,
the UK's senior intelligence body. I am not arguing, this is a crucial
point, IMF arguing that all of these 70,000 are somehow ideal partners.
Some left the Army because of the brutality of a solid, and they can
play a role in the future of Syria, and that is a view that has been
taken by the Russians as well. This is not 2003. We must not use past
mistakes as an excuse for indifference or inaction. Let's be
clear, in action does not amount to a strategy for our security or for
the people of Syria, but inaction is a choice, and they believe it is the
wrong choice. We have listened to our allies and we have taken legal
advice and we have a United Nations resolution and we have discussed
this extensively at meetings at the Security Council, I have put forward
a report to the select committee, we have a proper motion for this House,
and ahead by the end of it all, the House will come together for large
-- in large numbers to help defeat these extremists and take the action
that is needed now to keep our country safe.
It was the turn of the Labour leader
Since the prime minister first make his case for bombing in Syria last
week,... That is why it is a matter of such concern that a government
has decided to push this vote through Parliament today. The issue
now is whether extending British bombing from Iraq to Syria is likely
to reduce or increase that threat to Britain, and whether it will counter
or spread the terror campaign that is being waged by Isil across the
Middle East. The answers do not make the case for the government motion.
On the contrary, they are a step back. A vote against yet another
ill-fated twist in this never-ending war on terror.
And Mr Corbyn too addressed the issue of ground troops in Syria,
saying the only troops who could take advantage of the bombing
Campaign were jihadist forces. Western boots on the ground, what
ever the prime minister me to say now about keeping British combat
troops out of the way, are a real possibility.
He finished by calling for increased efforts for a
To oppose another war and intervention is not passive as in,
it is hard-headed common-sense, which I think we should be thinking
about today in this House. To resist the determination of Isil to draw
the Western powers back into the heart of the Middle East is not to
turn our back on our allies, it is refusing to play into the hands of
Isil and what I expect some of them want us to do.
Now, five minutes isn't long for a backbencher to make a speech
but over 100 members wanted to contribute to the debate.
Sir Alan Duncan was the first Conservative MP to speak
and he said the decision not to bomb Syria in 2013 had raised questions
If we choose today to remain on the sidelines, especially when there is
a new and unequivocal United Nations resolution in place, it would signal
to the world that the United Kingdom is indeed choosing to withdraw. Mr
Speaker, we should not be in the business of national resignation
from the world stage. I am not going to be a party to killing innocent
civilians for what will simply be a gesture. I am not interested in
gesture or texts. I am not interested in gesture military
activity. I am interested in affecting military activity, and if
that is brought before this House, I vote for it. To my mind, Isil isn't
such a clear and present danger to the civilized world -- is such a
clear and present danger to the civilized world... Our French allies
have excessively asked us for such support, and I invite the House to
consider how we would feel and what we would say if what took place in
Paris had happened in London, if we had explicitly asked friends for
support and France had refused. -- asked France for support.
Conservative John Baron is a member of the
Foreign Affairs Committee and his amendment opposes the Government's
We should be tackling the ideology and the sectarianism that feeds the
extremism that these groups, including Daesh, feed off. That is a
long-term strategy. You cannot do it overnight, but I don't see much
evidence of that. I find this decision as difficult as anyone to
make. I wish I had, frankly, the self righteous certitude of the
finger jabbing representatives who will no doubt soon be contacting
those of us who support this motion tonight. But I believe that Isil
-gen-macro has to be confronted. -- Isil Daesh.
Conservative Julian Lewis is chair of the defence committee and he
said he had consulted the former ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford.
He calls the freeze Syrian army a ragbag of 58 factions, united mainly
by a desire to use both, Turkish and Western funding. He goes on to say
that the factions which are extremely locally based have no
interest whatsoever in being drawn into battle against groups which
basically share their sectarian agenda hundreds of miles away in
areas with which they are unfamiliar. So, Mr Speaker, instead
of having dodgy dossiers, we now have bogus battalions of moderate
fighters. Daesh are the fascists of our time and I still believe there
is a dignity in uniting with our allies against a common enemy in
defence of our common humanity, and that is what I hope we will do.
The SNP uniformly opposes air strikes.
The party's leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson,
said he appreciated the professionalism of the armed forces,
adding that most of the air crews deployed were likely to be from
RAF Lossiemouth in his constituency.
Like many others, he turned to the issue of ground troops in Syria.
And he raised the issue of the Prime Minister's mandate for action.
The problem is, only a part of those forces are moderate, and there is
absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they would definitely deploy
from other parts of the country to counter Daesh. I asked the Prime
Minister, all this 70,000, how many are moderate and how many are
fundamentalists? I have not had an answer to that question. The UK
Government, Mr Speaker, is going to have a huge problem with legitimacy
and mandate for this operation in Scotland. It might win the vote
tonight, but it will do so with the support of only two out of 59
Scottish MPs. The DUP's leader at Westminster
said his party would be supporting Paris, like the downing of the
Russian airliner, were assaults upon civilized values that have to be
lived up to. To prevent evil spreading further, we must act. It
is a heavy burden of responsibility. So, it is not a
choice between military intervention on the one hand and political
initiatives on the other, both go hand in hand.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said the Prime Minister had broadly met
the criteria the Lib Dems wanted to see fulfilled.
This is the toughest call I think I have ever had to make, maybe ever,
and certainly in this House, and what pushes me in the direction of
the voting for action is, above all things, the United Nations
resolution 2249, which calls for us to eradicate the safe haven that
Isis have within Syria that does not just permit this country but urges
this country and all members are capable of doing so to take all
necessary action to get rid of Daesh. If we had just been asked to
bomb Syria, I would be voting no, I would be out there demonstrating in
between speeches and signing up to those e-mails, but this is not just
a case of bombing, this is standing with the United Nations and the
international community to do what is right by people who are the most
beleaguered of all. Meanwhile the Green MP,
Caroline Lucas, said military action should not be used
unless there was evidence that it I share the horror and revulsion
that the recent atrocities in Paris and elsewhere, yet I have still not
heard convincing evidence that the UK bombing Isis targets in Syria
will help bring about lasting peace in the region. The evidence appears
to suggest it would make matters worse.
You're watching Wednesday in Parliament on BBC Parliament.
Peers air concerns and fears over action in Syria.
The Syria debate, naturally, dominated the day in Parliament but
Seb Coe, one-time Olympic gold-medallist, now president
of the world athletics body the IAAF, was facing a committee of MPs.
The long-standing problem of drugs in sport erupted into a huge scandal
earlier this year when a German TV documentary claimed that blood
doping had been carried out on a massive scale by athletes in Russia,
with Russian officials and the IAAF involved
After that came a report by the World Anti Doping Agency,
which found corruption and bribery practices at the highest
We can talk about processes and rules and laws but culture is the
thing we have to address. Following the Olympics, your personal
reputation made you came of the world, it went so well. I think your
reputation is back on the line now that you've taken this job and I
think it is going to be very difficult. Straight question, do you
really think you can do this? You can break this culture if it does
exist? Yes, I have two because I don't there are no tomorrow is for
sport. I have to be honest, this is not within my normal framework of
reference. I do not understand this culture. It is not the culture I was
brought up with, it is not a velocity that any of my coaches had.
My father would have killed somebody that suggested I to do anything at
all to performance in hands. That was the non-negotiable nature of the
environment I was brought up in and that was an environment that the
vast majority of athletes are conjugal in and live in. I wanted to
ask you, have you ever been offered a break? No. By nobody ever to read
your whole career? No. You know anybody who has been offered a
bribe? No. Never heard any chat about the track-side or subsequently
from anybody who has ever said they were offered money? No. It is
extraordinary for our sport that is so full of corruption that you have
never come across it. I have really found in any environment that people
that are doing corrupt acts tend to share that information with their
co-workers. As a journalist myself, I have often heard gossip and gossip
is often wrong but sometimes it is correct and it is quite often when
following up. It is not our environment I have worked in. If the
No, it is not and some serious No, it is not and some serious
allegations have been made about former members of the IAAF and I
accept that. But I don't believe the IAAF, across all its organisation,
and across the vast majority of people that are involved in the
sport, is a corrupt sport. Why hasn't the IAAF dealt with this
issue earlier? Why haven't you been more prominent in pressing it said
you had such a prominent role within the organisation? We were not aware
of the specific nature of those allegations. I was certainly not
aware of the specific allegation that was being made around the
corruption of anti-doping processes in Russia. I would have been aware
of the escalation of the problem and those concerns were relieved,
encountered by me and by others -- relieved. But I do remind you that
there are... They are very serious, I am not walking away from this,
these are serious allegations. The MP noted that Lord Coe
once also had a post within the international football body,
Fifa. You're an exciter in these two
organisations and you are a devilled by allegations for many years. You
have been very closely involved in both organisations -- bedevilled by
allegations. Why should we think, in these circumstances, that you are in
the person to clean up this? I have the experience to do that. I had the
support to do that. Have there been failures? Yes. Will I fix them?
Absolutely. I we listening? Absolutely. I am focused on doing
that and if we don't do that there are no tomorrows for my sport.
Now, back to the debate on whether the UK should
The House of Lords also suspended ordinary business to discuss
the matter, 70 peers putting their names down to speak.
Senior figures from the church and the army
A former head of the British army was one
It is my sincere hope that members on the other place or bought in
significant numbers in favour of the motion they are debating. To do
otherwise would send an appalling message that the UK has pulled up
the drawbridge, is no longer an ally that can be trusted and has lost its
appetite to be a positive influence in Europe and the wider world. My
Lords, this is more about sending the right message, it is about being
part of an effective coalition that is not only clear about is strategic
objectives but also as a credible and coherent plan that takes us from
where we are now to the defeat of the so-called Islamic State and onto
a more secure and stable Syria and that wider region.
The former Conservative Foreign Secretary,
William, now Lord Hague, gave his maiden speech during the debate.
He said the UK should always be open to imaginative diplomatic solutions,
In the end, if communities and leaders cannot live peacefully
together in Syria and Iraq, then we will have to try them living
peacefully but separately in the partition of those countries,
regretfully, though I say that. Well know literary force alone cannot
defeat Daesh, they cannot be defeated without military force. I
think that is a very obvious point. When they enslave women, when a
murder hostages, when they persecute minorities, they are not seeking a
negotiation and since our security as a United Kingdom rests on our
alliances and our greatest alliances are with the United States and with
brands, it would be extraordinary, we would need a very compelling
reason as our security is indivisible from there is not
stacked with them in this crisis -- United States and France.
And Lord Hague finished by saying the use
of small specialist ground forces from western nations in
The Archbishop of Canterbury followed Lord Hague
and said the House would benefit from his experience.
The criteria to my mind have been met. But while there is... While
they are necessary, they are not by themselves sufficient in action of
this kind. Where we can end up doing the right thing in such a wrong way
that it becomes the wrong thing. The communities that have lived there
for 2000 years should not simply be emptied from that region. The
additional military force we are bringing to this quasi policing
operation, already acted over Syria, symbolically and to some extent
significantly adds to what is happening there. But far more than
that, it enables us to act where I were resources and expertise are
world leading in the creation of post-conflict peace and
nation-building. Only a holistic, the logical and global policy will
achieve our aims. If you launch war, you'd want unpredictability. The
best we are deciding on today is, on the balance of probabilities, this
is the best opportunity we will have. There are no certainties. The
second by Taiwan to make is, if we are successes -- successful in
removing eyesore and creating the ability in Syria, it will be messy
and won't look very nice. But peace we will be able to create, might be
able to create. Probably the only thing you can say about the peace is
that it will be better than the war it ended. What good does bombing do?
It makes the people who make bombs happy. But it invites retaliation,
which we have had and we may get more. The biggest question I have is
who are we targeting? It is fine to say we can pinpoint people with
drones, we have seen that bus there an off a lot of drones out there and
an awful lot of people who are being killed and blown out of their
houses. If we had the most abundant at night I would vote against it and
in doing so I believe I would be voting for the majority of members
of my own party. Last night, when the Liberal Democrat MPs said they
were going to support the Government, with various caveats,
there was a ripple of surprise and shock that went through the party
and some of us spent a lot of time last night talking to people who
were really quite angry and felt they had been let down by their MPs.
airstrikes. Now, back to the debate in the House of Commons.
The debate in the House of Commons drew to a close
Summing up for the opposition, Labour's Hilary Benn was in
the unusual position of taking an opposite stance to his party leader.
We are here faced by fascists. Not just their calculator brutality but
their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this
chamber tonight and all of the people that we represent. They hold
us in contempt. They hauled our values in contempt, I were belief in
tolerance and decency in contempt. They hauled our democracy, the means
by which will make our decision night, in contempt. And what we know
about fascists is that they need to be defeated. My view, Mr Speaker, is
that we must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do
our bit in Syria. That is why I ask my colleagues to a vote for this
motion tonight. APPLAUSE
The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond put the case
What kind of a country would we be if we refused to act in the face of
a threat to our security as clear as the one that I thought poses.
Indeed, Mr Speaker, what kind of a country would we be if we were
unmoved by the murder, the rape, the beheadings and the slavery that
Islamic State imposes on its subjects. What kind of a country
would we be if we ignored the calls for help from our nearest
neighbours, even as they grieve for their dead.
That's all from me for now. From me, Georgina Pattinson,