Conor Burns is just one of the growing number of MPs urging that parliament should be recalled given the growing crisis in Iraq. Glyn Davies, David Burrowes, Andrew Rosindell appear prominently in today’s papers expressing the same view – on the Labour side they are joined by Mike Gapes and Tom Watson, and in the Upper House by Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff.
They have a point. A monstrous darkness is cutting, burning and shooting its way across the Middle East, and it is not sufficient to manage Britain’s response to it from holiday villas. The stability of Iraq, and of the wider region, the future of embattled minorities such as the Yazidis, the Kurds and Christians as well as our own security are all under threat – the situation demands proper debate by the representatives of the people.
Recalling parliament should be something that those on all sides can support. If you believe the RAF should be taking part in air strikes against ISIS, then that will only happen with MPs’ agreement. If you believe we should stay out of events in the Middle East, then the Commons is the forum to press your point. If you want the current humanitarian effort to be improved or extended, then the best way to scrutinise it would be with a full debate. While last summer’s Syria vote may well give the Government caution, in fact it strengthens the case – a recall does not equal an inevitable rush to war, but is instead a powerful, constructive examination of an urgent issue.
Unchecked, this most appalling example of an already appallingly violent movement has raped, murdered and destroyed for months. The shockwaves of that campaign have sparked a political crisis and fears of a coup in Baghdad. Whatever course of action each of us might prefer, do we really want to answer the question “Where were you when ISIS marched?” with two shameful words: “On holiday”?