MP supports air strikes against ‘barbaric evil’ in Iraq

Sir Alan Haselhurst MP

Sir Alan Haselhurst MP - Credit: Archant

Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst last week voted in favour of military action against Islamic State (IS) after describing the extremists as “pure barbaric evil”.

Speaking after the seven-hour debate in the House of Commons, the Conservative member, one of 524 MPs who agreed to back air strikes involving British forces, went as far as to suggest IS was more evil than Adolf Hitler.

He said: “In my lifetime I do not think that I have been aware of any greater concentration of pure barbaric evil than what is being shown by IS. Even Hitler’s horrors were targeted at minorities, but IS seems pitted against anyone, high or low, who will not submit to its wicked creed.”

The Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour leaderships all backed air strikes in Iraq, although there were a few MPs who expressed concerns about where it would lead and the prospect of future engagement in Syria. The vote, 524 to 43, did not come without its opposition, particularly from Labour. Nearly two dozen Labour MPs voted against action, including MP Ian McKenzie who lost his position as the aide to shadow Defence Secretary Vernon Coaker after defying a three-line Labour whip. Shadow education minister Rushanara Ali also resigned from Labour’s front bench in order to abstain from the vote.

Sir Alan, however, was steadfast about his view on the air strikes, adding: “I believe the emergency recall on Friday was vitally necessary so that any military action against IS involving British forces could have the authority of Parliament. I hurried back from annual leave in order to be present.

“It is right to see them as a menace. IS will strike anywhere it can. Britain should share with other right-thinking nations the responsibility for containing and then defeating IS.

“Past experience of the use of arms in the Middle East should teach us caution. But now we face a threat like no other. The proposal even so is to confine action to parts of Iraq. If something more is required, it will have to be subject to further debate and parliamentary decision.”