It is becoming increasingly difficult to see how Parliament will make it through the summer recess without being recalled. This morning has brought two good reasons for MPs to return to the House of Commons: President Obama has announced air strikes against ISIS in order to prevent a genocide of the Yazidis and Israel is resuming military action in Gaza after militants fired rockets into Israel. The IDF has been ordered to retaliate strongly to the violation of the ceasefire.
James wrote at the start of this recess that ‘few MPs and ministers expect to make it through to September without the House being recalled because of the grim international situation’, and a few weeks into that recess, this seems more, not less, likely.
Today Michael Fallon is chairing COBR on the Yazidis. The Prime Minister said this morning that ‘I have tasked officials to urgently establish what more we can do to provide help to those affected, including those in grave need of food, water and shelter in the Sinjar area’.
David Cameron also said he agrees that ‘we should stand up for the values we believe in’, concluding his statement:
‘I welcome President Obama’s decision to accept the Iraqi government’s request for help and to conduct targeted US airstrikes, if necessary, to help Iraqi forces as they fight back against ISIL terrorists to free the civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar. And I fully agree with the President that we should stand up for the values we believe in – the right to freedom and dignity, whatever your religious beliefs.’
But on another matter, his party has bigger fissures in it than before after the departure of Baroness Warsi over the government’s response to the situation in Gaza. Some Tory MPs are becoming increasingly vocal about their doubts that ministerial colleagues are standing up for the values they believe in when communicating with the Israeli government. It may be on issue or all that increases the pressure for a return to Westminster, even though Number 10 would like to avoid such a situation. But this morning it looks even less likely that Downing Street will succeed in avoiding a recall.