Friday, November 27, 2015

Hollande calls on British MPs to back Syrian airstrikes. Labour in disarray over vote on Syrian airstrikes.

French President Francois Hollande has called on British MPs to back military intervention in Syria "in solidarity with France".

The French president thanked Britain for the support it has shown his country following the Paris attacks and said he hoped that the British parliament would now back the case for airstrikes put forward by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Hollande told a press conference at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Malta: "I do hope that the House of Commons will be able to meet the request of Prime Minister Cameron."

"David Cameron told me that he would consult parliament to take part in strikes in Syria. And win over the House of Commons," Mr Hollande said.

"I can only call on all British members of parliament, in solidarity with France but, above all, conscious of the fight against terrorism, to approve this intervention," he added.

His intervention comes one day after Mr Cameron set out his case for airstrikes to MPs, warning them that Britain is at risk of attack and insisting the military operations to defeat IS cannot be left to other countries.

But the prospect of a vote has plunged Labour into chaos as shadow cabinet ministers clashed with leader Jeremy Corbyn after he ruled out supporting action.

Mr Cameron had urged Labour MPs to back military intervention in Syria, telling them to "vote on the basis of the arguments".

Mr Cameron said there was a "compelling" case for airstrikes and insisted MPs would allow the country to do the "right thing" if they supported them.

A British parliament vote is expected to be held early next week....

  • Labour in disarray over vote on Syrian airstrikes...

Top figures in Britain's main opposition Labour Party heaped criticism on their leader Jeremy Corbyn on Friday after he ruled out voting for the Royal Air Force to join airstrikes in Syria.

One member of the shadow cabinet, speaking anonymously to the right-leaning Daily Telegraph, said radical leftist Corbyn was "no longer fit to run the Labour Party," citing a "breakdown of trust."

Another told the BBC, "There will be resignations among senior members of the shadow cabinet over this."

But Hilary Benn, shadow foreign minister, said he would not leave even though he backs military action. "This is very complex, it is very difficult and each individual in the end will reach their own decision about what they think the right thing to do is," Benn told BBC Radio 4's Today program.

British Prime Minister David Cameron made his case for airstrikes to parliament on Thursday ahead of a vote expected next week in which dozens of Labour MPs are expected to defy Corbyn and vote with the government.

But many MPs are still troubled by the memory of unpopular interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan under then prime minister Tony Blair.

In a letter issued hours after Cameron's speech, Corbyn said the prime minister had failed to make a "convincing case" for joining the conflict. A showdown between Corbyn and dissenting Labour MPs is expected at a meeting on Monday where the party is expected to decide whether its lawmakers can vote freely on the issue or must adhere to a party line.

Corbyn's relations with the party's more centrist MPs have been strained since he was elected to lead the party in September thanks to a surge in grass-roots support due to his strong anti-austerity message.

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