Syrian airstrike approval unlikely

08:28 Tuesday 3rd November 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: There are signs that David Cameron could abandon plans to hold a vote in Parliament on whether to authorise British sir strikes in Syria. Downing Street is insisting no decisions have yet been taken. I’m joined by our Political Correspondent Paul Rowley. Is it going to happen Paul? Is there going to be a vote?
PAUL ROWLEY: I doubt it Dotty, and I’ve doubted it for some time, having spoken to MPs from all parties. Frankly David Cameron doesn’t have the numbers. Despite winning the election, the Conservatives have a slender majority in the Commons of just a dozen, and on my reckoning there are between 20 and 30 Tories who won ‘t support the Prime Minister on this. And with Labour now being led by Jeremy Corbyn who remains a prominent anti-war campaigner, and with the party having been scarred by military action in both Iraq and Afghanistan when Tony Blair was Prime Minister, crudely there isn’t the appetite to take part in what could well be a risky bloody long drawn out conflict.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And is there any chance of that situation changing?

PAUL ROWLEY: It could, and that’s why Downing Street isn’t officially ruling out the idea of a vote, on the basis that Britain’s already involved in bombing raids in neighbouring Iraq against the militant group which calls itself Islamic State, the argument being just extend the action over the border. But I think with the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee making clear this morning it’s not persuaded of the idea, they think that our air strikes would have only a marginal effect. They do acknowledge there’s a sense that something must be done on humanitarian grounds, because a number of refugees who are going into camps in neighbouring countries or attempting to get onto the European mainland. But the fact of the matter is this committee, it’s all-Party, but it’s dominated by Conservative MPs, and its Chairman is a former Tory Minister in Crispin Blunt, who when I first met him a generation ago Dotty worked at the Foreign Office, so he’s someone who knows his stuff.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Paul Rowley there, our Political Correspondent. Thank you.