A leading Conservative MP has said that British Prime Minister David Cameron would win a vote in Parliament on bombing ISIS. The Daily Mail says that Sir Richard Ottaway, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said that a majority of MPs would back arming the Kurds, and possibly even launching air strikes.
Sir Richard’s comments come on the first anniversary of David Cameron losing a vote in the House of Commons on launching military intervention against Syria dictator Bashar al Assad. The vote was seen as hugely embarrassing for the Prime Minister, with some saying that it contributed to US President Barack Obama backing down on his own plans to bomb Assad.
Sir Richard said there would be support for targeting ISIS in Iraq, despite the government having received no formal request for intention.
“As far as Kurdistan is concerned I think there’s a case for arming the Peshmerga,” he said. “If they request it, for working with the US on air strikes, although this will need the support of Parliament.
“My hunch on Iraq is that the view in Parliament has changed and there would be a majority there. Syria is not so straightforward, but I think the situation has changed in Iraq.”
He added that, unlike last year, intervention against ISIS would been seen to have greater legitimacy, and that some MPs who voted against air strikes against Assad would be in favour of intervening against ISIS.
Sir Richard also said that, as a leading member of Nato and the EU, Britain would have a responsibility to help the Kurds if they asked for assistance.
He said: “If we think Kurdistan needs support, and might collapse without our support, then electoral thinking would be immaterial. We have to do what people expect of a country like Britain.
“Britain has a longstanding interest in Kurdistan, it was established by John Major after the first Gulf War, it is a well-run country with a proper constitution, and respect for diplomacy, does not have the religious tensions we see elsewhere in the Middle East. It has a very important strategic position. The West should help Kurdistan.”