David Davis comments on UK airstikes against ISIS


As published in The Hull Daily Mail:
David Davis warns air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq will mean Britain engaging in an ‘inefficient war’

East Yorkshire’s MPs have voted to support air strikes against militant extremists in Iraq.

The Prime Minister recalled the Commons for an emergency debate seeking approval for military intervention against the Islamic State (IS), also known as Isil or Isis.

MPs last night backed the Government’s plans for air strikes by 524 votes to 43.

Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis abstained from the vote, warning that the UK was playing into enemy hands by engaging in “an inefficient war”.

Conservative Mr Davis said: “The reason that Isis is a problem in Iraq – nevermind in Syria – is because the Iraqi Army itself isn’t able to get its act together.

“The Iraqi state is in a mess and is essentially in conflict with itself. (At 250,000) Its army dwarfs that of the Islamic State (30,000-strong in Iraq).

“And yet every time Isis engages with them or threatens them the army runs the other way and the reason for that is the politics cannot cope.

“Until we fix the politics, anything we do militarily won’t achieve much.”

The former minister warned that bombing IS would create more enemies, as he criticised what he described as the absence of a coherent strategy.

Mr Davis said: “When will this stop? Is this going to be a long, drawn-out campaign lasting months and years? Are we really committing to a military air war? David Cameron needs to answer these questions.

“We are being played by them. What they are trying to do is skilfully use propaganda to suck people into an inefficient war.”

Hull East MP Karl Turner voted in support of the motion, as did Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness Graham Stuart. Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson was not present.

Hull North MP Diana Johnson also backed the move, although she was unable to make the vote.

“I fully support military action on Isis in Iraq,” she said.

“Unlike Syria, the UK has been asked for help directly by the Iraqi Government.”

Desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s damaging Commons defeat over air strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, Mr Cameron set out the case for British involvement.

He told MPs that Britain had a “duty” to act in Iraq.

“There is no more serious issue than asking our armed forces to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our country,” he said.

The Prime Minister braced the public for a mission that would last “not just months but years” but said he was not prepared to “subcontract” the protection of British streets from terrorism to other countries’ air forces.

He pointed to the murder by IS of East Yorkshire-born aid worker David Haines, its threat to kill two other British captives, and a number of terrorist attacks and plots against Britain and other Western nations.

Mr Cameron said: “Left unchecked, we will face a terrorist caliphate on the shores of the Mediterranean, bordering a Nato member, with a declared and proven determination to attack our country and our people.

“This is not the stuff of fantasy – it is happening in front of us and we need to face up to it.”