Yvette Cooper MP

Working hard for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford & Knottingley

Letter to David Cameron

Today I have written to David Cameron to ask for more detail on his proposals to engage in military airstrikes in Syria

Letter to David Cameron about military airstrikes on Syria:

The Prime Minister

10 Downing Street



Friday 27th November 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

Thank you for your statement to Parliament yesterday.

As I said in my question to you, I believe the Government has made a strong moral and legal case for the UK joining military airstrikes to defeat the totalitarianism of ISIS; the remaining questions are practical ones.

Given the complexity of the situation in Syria, and the record of past interventions, I know you will appreciate the importance of Parliament being able to consider the detailed strategy in advance of any motion being drawn up or put before the House, and therefore I am writing to ask for direct briefings, including security briefings for Privy Counsellors, to be held as swiftly as possibly.

You will be aware from yesterday’s exchanges in the Commons that MPs need further information and assurances on some important questions:


  • On which ground troops UK airstrikes will be seeking to support.

  • On the strategy to prevent airstrikes against ISIS strengthening President Assad's position in the Syrian Civil War and as a result strengthening recruitment for ISIS.

  • On how Sunni Muslims will be involved in the international peace process.

  • And on the strategy to safeguard those at risk of becoming refugees.


I am concerned that very few Members of Parliament have been given detailed briefing by the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence on this, and even fewer have had access to full security briefings. That makes it very difficult for MPs to contribute to the Government's consideration of what form any motion should take, as well as to respond to the motion. For example despite several inquiries I have been advised that the only briefing on offer is a general one from the MoD next Wednesday. I'm sure you would agree that this is insufficient - especially as there are suggestions that the Government is considering holding the vote on Wednesday.

Given the gravity of this issue, I am writing to ask you to arrange joint Foreign Office and MoD briefings for all MPs on Monday in advance of your decision on tabling a motion.

And in addition, I believe it is essential that all Privy Counsellors, and not just the Party Leadership, are offered a detailed security briefing at the earliest opportunity, before the end of Monday and before any motion is finalised.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP

Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford


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commented 2015-11-29 18:14:08 +0000
Dear Yvette Cooper Very best wishes

Regarding your second question to David Cameron: we as a western power have no moral right to decide who the Syrian people wish to govern them. You mention the results of previous UK/US interventions. The deaths and suffering of many innocent people – children,women and men, and the corpses floating in the Mediterranean – were direct results of our illegal interventions. The purpose of the interventions in Iraq and Libya was regime change and the “spreading of democracy”. The leaders of these regimes were secular. From this intervention came ISIS.
We were told that Iraq had WMD and was an immediate threat to our national security. Few woulds deny,now, that this was bare-faced lying on a grand scale.
The real objective of our intervention in Syria is regime change. Even if or when ISIS is defeated,if not before, our objective is the downfall of Assad. Many, perhaps a majority, of the Syrian people support Assad. That is the reason that the US has created an imaginary armed opposition of seventy thousand soldiers – they don`t exist! There is not and will not be such a force because genuine opposition within Iraq is not sufficient to makeup the numbers.
So in order to achieve our western imposed regime change we create a precondition for the final result i.e. that Assad will not, under any circumstances, be allowed to stand as a candidate. It doesn`t matter what the Syrian people want we will decide the outcome. And the outcome will be regime change as it was in Iraq and Libya with the horror that followed.
The real question a labour MP should be asking Mr Cameron is whether the final strategy is regime change and if our intervention is but a tactic within this broader plan.
Would you be willing to ask that question or are you a supporter of regime change whatever the consequences. Millions of lives depend on the answer to this one question.
I should be most grateful if you could, or would, send a copy of my request to your fellow labour MPs in the interest of peace and democracy. Ileave it to your kindness to send me a reply. I am a Labour Party member and have voted Labour all my life.
Thanks for everything you have done for the Labour Party.

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