Jeremy Corbyn will not give Labour MPs a free vote on Syria air strikes in blow for David Cameron

David Cameron has pledged only to launch air strikes in Syria if he wins Parliamentary approval but with Jeremy Corbyn forcing Labour MPs to oppose any motion for military action, hopes are fading of winning a majority 

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Monday 16 November 2015 17:11 GMT
Jeremy Corbyn is fiercely opposed to air strikes in Syria
Jeremy Corbyn is fiercely opposed to air strikes in Syria (Getty Images)

Labour MPs will not be given a free vote on proposals for Britain to bomb Isis in Syria, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

It deals a blow to David Cameron's hopes of winning Parliamentary approval to go ahead with launching air strikes on Isis-controlled parts of Syria.

The Labour leader opposes taking military action in Syria and believes he can reach an agreement with his party.

He made it clear that Labour MPs should not expect a free vote if and when the Government comes forward with a motion in the House of Commons to bomb Syria.

"I’m hoping we will be able to come to that position in agreement, actually with a number of other Conservatives, so that is indeed the position I’m putting forward," Mr Corbyn said.

"I don’t think a free vote is something that we’re offering."

Mr Corbyn will face a tough task with convincing all those in the Labour party to oppose military action, with an estimated 50 Labour MPs believed to support air strikes in Syria.

He will face internal critics at a weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour party in the Commons on Monday evening.

Mr Cameron has pledged not to give the go ahead for RAF strikes in Syria without the approval of Parliament, following his humiliating defeat in 2013 when MPs voted against taking military against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Corbyn's hardline approach to whipping his MPs to vote against air strikes makes Mr Cameron's hopes of winning a vote less likely.

Mr Corbyn also criticised the decision by France to bombard Raqqa, the de-facto capital of Isis-controlled territory in Syria, with 20 bombs on Sunday night.

Instead he said he first wanted to see the formation of an “acceptable government” in Syria, which can then take on Isis and reiterated his view that a political solution was the best route to defeating Isis.

"I am just not convinced that a bombing campaign will actually solve anything, it may well make the situation far worse," he told Sky News.

“The political solution to the situation in Syria has got to be the right way forward, we cannot go on in this cycle of wars and destruction, one after the other after the other, which is what we’re going through at the moment.”

He added: "At the end of the day, all wars have to end by a political discussion and political solution to it."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in