Rugby MP in firing line over Iraq bombing vote

Mark Pawsey MP
Mark Pawsey MP
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Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has been criticised for backing bombing raids against suspected terrorists in Iraq.

In Parliament on Friday, he voted in favour to join the US-led coalition taking part in air strikes against the group calling itself Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

Mr Pawsey said: “Given the atrocities committed in Syria and the Iraqi government asking for assistance against ISIL, it is evident that ISIL is posing a clear threat to peace in the region and security here in Britain.

“The situation is deeply concerning and I am appalled at the barbaric attacks waged by ISIL terrorists across the region. In the Dahuk region alone around 500,000 people have been displaced and the United Nations have now declared the situation as the highest level of humanitarian emergency.”

He said Friday’s vote reflects the cross-party view that this intervention is a step that must be taken.

Mr Pawsey added: “What I voted for on Friday is legal, it is right, and it does not involve British combat troops on the ground – but as ever when our country and our allies are threatened in this way, we should not turn away from what needs to be done.”

MPs voted by 524 votes to 43 – a government majority of 481 for the air strikes.

But Pete McLaren, spokesperson for Rugby’s Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and prospective parliamentary candidate, said: “Air strikes are not the answer.

“TUSC believes there has to be a political solution to problems in the Middle East. This includes adequately meeting the demands being made by Palestine, an end to the west’s support for Israel, and recognition that the US/British led war on Islam is wrong and fundamentally flawed.”

Mr McLaren said western bombing will make the situation worse.

He added: “While we accept that many of the practices of Isis are horrendous, and need to be challenged through international pressure and diplomacy, it is the reason why increasing numbers of often young people want to join such a cause that need to be addressed.”