Monday, 20 July 2015

Westminster this week - Welfare Reform Bill dominates

We are reaching the end of the summer term of parliament this week, with long debates ahead on welfare reform, the finance Bill which enacts much of the budget, and questions to the Chancellor on Tuesday.
I am sure that today will also see a parliamentary discussion of the past usage of UK troops working with americans and other allies in actions against Isil. The Defence Secretary of State will make a statement I suspect at 3.30. The reality is that there is a huge difference between UK planes and specific forces flying sorties in Syria and a few individual pilots working with US forces as part of an embedded unit. For example, special forces from a host of different countries, have been working together on multiple missions in various places as part of embedded groups for decades.  

The longer term discussion that is going to have to be had at some stage is the issue of widening the air strikes against Isil from Iraq, where we already take part, to flights and missions using UK Aircraft over and in Syria, against Isil.  As the horror in Tunisia proved, both the terror group and its message is a threat to British citizens.  The border between Iraq and Syria is now real only on maps.  The argument is that it makes no sense to stop attacking ISIS’s forces when they flee to the latter side of it. Like many I will listen to the Defence Secretary at 3.30.
I have various constituency meetings in the next few days and then will be staying on in London to finish up a large amount of casework, correspondence and loose ends before heading north on Friday.