Syria air strikes: Jeremy Corbyn warns that the West can't 'bomb our way to democracy'

He says British bombs will kill people opposed to Isis if air strikes are extended

Jon Stone@joncstone
Tuesday 01 December 2015 14:32
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

The West will not be able to “bomb our way to democracy” in Syria, the leader of the Labour party has warned.

Jeremy Corbyn said any bombing of populous Isis-controlled areas would inevitably hurt people who opposed the group and could be counterproductive.

“When you bomb a down like Raqqa, where there are several hundred thousand people living there who may or may not with to be under Isil control, indeed many are trying to escape from there,” he told BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show.

“We’re going to kill people – we’re going to kill people in their homes by our bombs. I think we should be very careful about that.

“Tomorrow Parliament must make a decision – are we going to go to war again or instead put all our efforts into a peace process, a political process, a rebuilding process, a humanitarian process? We are not going to bomb our way to democracy.”

Mr Corbyn was speaking ahead of a vote in Parliament on Wednesday about whether to back military action.

On Monday the Labour leader asked David Cameron for a two day debate on the issue, but was rebuffed.

Labour is split on the issue of bombing, with most Labour members and MPs supporting Mr Corbyn’s position but some pro-intervention MPs supportive of Mr Cameron’s plan to extend air strikes.

Labour MPs will therefore get a free vote on the issue, with Mr Corbyn speaking against bombing and shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn speaking in favour.

The UK is already bombing Isis in Iraq and the US, France and their allies are already conducting air strikes in Syria.

The Government says the UK should not “outsource” its security to other countries and should join in with the bombing.

Ministers had however said they would not bring forward a vote in the House of Commons unless they were certain they could win a majority to extend strikes.

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