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Iraq: Coalition Against ISIL

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 10:35 am on 26th September 2014.

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Photo of David Cameron David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 10:35 am, 26th September 2014

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There are a variety of legal arguments that can be deployed. In this case it could not be clearer that we are acting at the request of a sovereign state, and if we were to act in Syria, I believe that would be the legal basis too: collective self-defence against ISIL which threatens Iraq. But my hon. Friend is absolutely right to say, and I have said this in the House before, that if one is averting a humanitarian catastrophe, that is a legal basis on which to act. Let me be clear again that although it is right that we are having this debate and this vote, if there was a moment when it looked as though there could be an urgent humanitarian need for intervention, I would be prepared to order that intervention and then come to the House and explain why.

We have a comprehensive strategy for action. As I have said, we have a clear request from the Iraqi Government. We have a clear basis in international law. We have a substantial international coalition, including many Arab partners, and we need to act in our own national interest. So I believe that it is morally right that we now move to a new phase of action by asking our armed forces to take part in international air strikes against ISIL in Iraq, and I believe we should do so now.