Labour will consult Stop the War Coalition before deciding its position on Syria air strikes, says Corbyn minister

Catherine West, a shadow foreign minister, told Stop the War event that Labour would speak to the pressure group if and when the Government submits proposals to bomb Syria 

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Tuesday 03 November 2015 10:56
Jeremy Corbyn stood down as chairman of the Stop the War Coalition after being elected Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn stood down as chairman of the Stop the War Coalition after being elected Labour leader

Labour will consult the Stop the War Coalition before deciding its position on bombing Syria, a shadow minister has said.

Catherine West, the shadow foreign minister, told the anti-war group at an event on Monday evening she had yet to see government proposals for air strikes against Isis targets in Syria but would speak to the pressure group before making its final decision if and when ministers submitted plans.

She said the prospect of bombing the war-torn country were “more remote” since the launch of Russia’s military campaign against Isis and Free Syrian Army rebels in September, which were approved by President Putin in a bid to shore up President Assad’s regime.

Her comments come as Downing Street denied reports that David Cameron had shelved plans to launch air strikes in Syria after concluding the Government would fail to win over enough Labour MPs to outweigh several Tory rebels who are set to oppose military action.

Ms West, speaking to a Stop the War event in the House of Commons on Monday night, said: “In terms of Britain's role, as the opposition we haven't seen a proposal.

"Obviously, in the summer - before Russia was involved - we were thinking the Government might bring forward a proposal and we were preparing mentally for that.

"However, since September 30, I think that's more remote and obviously, if that proposal does come forward, then we will need to speak to you and talk to you about what your view on that is."

A Labour party spokesman backed up Ms West’s comments. “Labour would, of course, listen to representations from the Stop the War Coalition, as it would from other external bodies, before coming to any decision,” the spokesman said.

Ms West later said her comment had not been addressed to the Stop the War Coalition which organised the meeting, but to a group of Syrian refugees who attended.

"When I said I wanted to consult with them, I meant that group of Syrian people," she said.

"These are people who who have lost families and who are refugees ... They have been through a terrible time and they feel they haven't been listened to."

A week after his landslide victory in the Labour leadership contest he was forced to miss the group’s annual conference – the first time he has missed it since the pressure was set up.

His team said he was too busy preparing for the following week’s Labour party conference.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new 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