On Sunday during a range of interviews Chancellor George Osborne appeared to prepare the ground for another vote on military action in Syria. In the light of the growing refugee crisis, the government sees military action (bombing campaign, rather than boots on the ground!) against Assad and IS in Syria as a way of dealing with this crisis and creating a more sustainable environment in Syria.
The situation in Syria and Britain’s response has caused much debate for the last few years. In the last parliamentary term David Cameron and the coalition government famously lost a vote on Syria. However since then Cameron and the Conservatives have won an overall majority and may feel with the deteriorating situation in Syria they are now in a stronger position to win the vote. This will enable Cameron to be clearer about his aims and may push previously sceptical MPs onto his side.
Cameron was previously outmanoeuvred by Ed Miliband and will be anxious to avoid a similar situation with the new Labour leader this time. Corbyn is odds-on to win the Labour leadership race and is famous for his anti-war position and is therefore unlikely to back further military involvement. There is though still a strong strand of libertarian interventionism in the Labour Party and a number of Labour MPs may still be willing to vote with the government. Jeremy Corbyn is also unlikely to garner the same sense of loyalty as Ed Miliband, increasing the chance of a bigger rebellion against him.
This is not the only issue though as Cameron will also struggle to carry his whole parliamentary party with him as well. Previously Tory rebels voted against the plans and helped to defeat the government. This problem is unlikely to have gone away. The big question is whether the number of Tory rebels is bigger than the number of Labour MPs willing to support action.
The government has been exploring this option for a while now, but has been tentative about putting forward any definitive plans. The fact this is now being pretty strongly floated across the media shows the government now plans to force a vote in the next few weeks and are confident they now have the votes. Another vote is inevitable and this time Cameron and the government will win this vote. There will be Tory rebels, but there will be more Labour MPs willing to support the government. This will give Cameron the majority he needs.
Article by Mike Hough
Photograph – ABC News