UK Labour goes for free vote on Syria

The Guardian reports:

Labour MPs are to get a free vote on whether airstrikes should be extended to , with Jeremy Corbyn and Hilary Benn expected to adopt opposing positions in any Commons debate on the issue.

At a heated meeting of the shadow cabinet on Monday afternoon Corbyn agreed to a free vote – a decision that emerged just before the meeting started. It followed a weekend of discussion with Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson.

However, a proposal that the shadow cabinet should agree that it was party policy to oppose airstrikes, and to assert this was in line with a conference motion passed in September, was thrown out.

Shadow cabinet members said the offer of a free vote for Labour MPs would be severely diluted if there was also a statement saying party policy opposed airstrikes.

This shows how bad things are in .

There are some things you don’t expect a party to have a view on – minor stuff such as the Standards and Measures Harmonisation Act.

But whether or not to go to war, and to approve the use of force is as important as it gets. And UK Labour are saying we have no policy at all on this, because our leader is against all use of force by western countries.

This is probably the lesser evil for UK Labour. If they had tried to force Labour MPs to vote in line with Corbyn, he may have had half his front bench resign.

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