Number 10 has just confirmed that Parliament will be recalled on Friday to vote on a motion authorising British involvement in air strikes against Isis in Iraq. A spokesman said:
‘The Speaker has agreed to the Prime Minister’s request to recall Parliament this Friday to debate the UK’s response to the request from the Iraqi government for air strikes to support operations against Isil in Iraq.
‘The Commons will meet on Friday for a debate on a substantive motion. The Prime Minister will open the debate and the Deputy Prime Minister will close the debate. The Prime Minister has called a meeting of the Cabinet tomorrow at 1pm.’
All three parties support the action, and the Tory whips have been calling round to make sure that they really do know the views of their backbenchers, unlike last year when it was all much more last minute. A text has gone out from the whips reading:
‘Parliament is recalled this Friday 26 September and will sit 10.30 to 17.00. 3 line whip attendance. Please inform your whip if you cannot attend.’
The Commons’ approval is not needed for military intervention. But it is much safer politically to get MPs’ consent anyway. It will therefore be interesting to see how much the ghosts of previous conflicts haunt the Commons Chamber as they did in August 2013.
UPDATE: Is the real story about bombing in Iraq and Syria – or disruption in Doncaster? Here’s what Nigel Farage had to say about the recall and its effect on Ukip’s annual conference, which may have to do without its complement of MP:
‘It’s widely believed Prime Minister David Cameron held back on recalling Parliament on an issue of massive national importance, so it didn’t affect the Labour Party conference, which finished today.
‘However, he still thought it best to delay parliamentary recall until Friday, and not do it tomorrow. Instead he will make his statement in the middle of the UKIP party conference.’