IS is "fascist" terror organisation which must be defeated, says Tyneside MP

Commons votes to back air strikes against terror group in Iraq following six-hour debate

Dave Anderson MP
Dave Anderson MP

Britain was once again set to join military action in Iraq after MPs voted to back air strikes against terrorist organisations in the war-torn country.

The Commons voted by 524 to 43 to support David Cameron’s plan for air strikes against the so-called Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Tyneside MP Dave Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon, was one of those speaking out in favour of military action.

He told MPs: “ISIS is a fascist organisation. The only language it understands is force.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats, also backed the use of force.

But a number of MPs spoke out against military action during a Commons debate lasting more than six hours.

Unlike the invasion of Iraq in 2003, action this time is being taken at the request of the Iraqi government, which asked for help dealing with IS.

Mr Cameron also said that any action in Syria, where IS is also active, would be subject to its own vote.

And he said that the UK would only be involved in air strikes, not the use of combat ground forces, although some British soldiers may be on the ground in Iraq to carry out work required to identify targets for missiles and guide them to their destination.

Mr Anderson said he had led a trade union delegation to Iraqi Kurdistan after the invasion which deposed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and was surprised when Kurds told him they supported the Iraq war because it freed them from Saddam’s rule.

He told the House of Commons he asked Iraq Kurds for advice on whether the UK should intervene this time.

He said: “The advice I received from a very close comrade of mine on the ground in the trade union movement in Kurdistan was this - ISIS is a fascist organisation. The only language it understands is force.

“The immediate threat of ISIS must be halted and to do that we need external military air support.”

He told MPs: “Whatever we do today I believe in supporting the people on the ground in Kurdistan. I have to support this action even though I don’t really want to.”

But he warned that the Prime Minister must take no further action, such as involving the British armed forces in Syria, without the approval of the House of Commons.

The Commons also heard warnings from MPs opposing the Government plan.

Conservative MP Adam Holloway (Gravesham), who served in the first Gulf war, said: “There is no simple solution to any of this but the answer does not come from something military that is led by the West.

“It comes from something political that is led by people within the region.”

British Muslim leaders, including MPs, councillors and mosque officials, have published a letter condemning IS, which released film showing the murder of British aid worker David Haines and has threatened to murder British aid worker Alan Henning, who is currently being held captive.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Cameron said: “ISIL is a terrorist organisation unlike those we have dealt with before. The brutality is staggering: beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon and the slaughter of children.

“All these things belong to the dark ages, but it is not just the brutality; it is backed by billions of dollars and has captured an arsenal of the most modern weapons.

“In the space of a few months, ISIL has taken control of territory that is greater than the size of Britain and is making millions selling oil to the Assad regime. It has already attacked Lebanon and boasts of its designs right up to the Turkish border.

“This is not a threat on the far side of the world; left unchecked, we will face a terrorist caliphate on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member, with a declared and proven determination to attack our country and our people. This is not the stuff of fantasy; it is happening in front of us; and we need to face up to it.”

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