Downing Street remains resolute that there will not be a recall of Parliament over the situation in Iraq. But Conor Burns, a Tory backbencher who resigned as a ministerial aide over Lords reform, has just joined calls for a recall by writing to David Cameron warning that helping to evacuate the religious minorities at risk is not enough. His letter, seen first by Coffee House, is pretty strong stuff.
Burns tells Cameron that ‘these people want a holocaust of everyone who does not share their brutal ideology. It simply cannot be enough to try and evacuate those [ISIS] want to kill and then leave them, as the Pentagon admitted last night, undiminished to continue their terror’ and that ‘there is more that we could be exploring to deal with the problem’s source’. Arguing that it is Parliament’s job to test the government, he suggests that other options could include air strikes and arming the Kurdish regional government. He adds:
‘I believe this genocide will be looked back on by historians alongside the genocide in the Balkans in the 1990s when the West left it far too late to intervene to protect Muslims from ethnic cleansing. I hope that history will not say the same of us when Christians and other religious minorities are being treated even more brutally in Iraq today.’
Burns also tries to address what many suspect is a strong factor in David Cameron’s reluctance to bring MPs back from recess: the memory of what happened last August when Parliament voted on Syria. James wrote in a recent politics column that this was driving Number 10’s reluctance. But the letter argues:
‘It is also important that we are not diverted from a courageous course due to the understandable reaction to the vote on Syria last year. This situation in Iraq is manifestly different. The objective would be clear – to halt and then reserve the advance of this craven, ideologically-driven group of terrorist thugs. And the purpose would be moral.’
And it points to the YouGov finding, published today, that 37 per cent of people approve of the RAF taking part in airstrikes against ISIS, against 36 per cent who disapprove.
You can read his letter to the Prime Minister in full below (click on the images to view larger versions):
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.