Stephen Timms today voted to support UK airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq. It followed a formal request from the Iraqi Government for the UK to join international efforts to strike ISIL targets and military positions to end the continuing attacks on civilians across large swathes of the country. MPs have not approved any military action in Syria.
Before this afternoon’s vote, Ed Miliband told the House of Commons that Britain had a “heightened responsibility” to act in Iraq because of its role in 2003. While airstrikes would be carried out at the same time as the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga conduct a ground campaign, Mr Miliband told MPs that a comprehensive humanitarian and political approach must accompany a military strategy.
Speaking after the vote, Stephen said: “It would be wrong just to ignore the threat from ISIL to the stability of the region, to all those living in fear of unprovoked brutality and to the UK national interest. I have been particularly troubled by the plight of religious minorities in northern Iraq.
“International airstrikes against ISIL – which have a clear legal basis – must be accompanied by a wider political and diplomatic strategy. In particular, the UK must support an inclusive and democratic Iraqi Government that can win the confidence of all Iraqis, combat ISIL and restore stability and security.”