Counter-Daesh Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:34 pm on 7th November 2017.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 2:34 pm, 7th November 2017

I shall take the right hon. Lady’s points in turn. Our view about UK nationals fighting for Daesh in Iraq or Syria is, of course, that they must think of themselves as legitimate targets while they are doing that. If they seek to come back here, they will of course be subject to investigation and the full force of the law. On her second question, we have had no request for air strikes of the type she mentions or a military operation in Somalia of the kind that she describes.

On the right hon. Lady’s third point, in respect of the policy on Syria, we are working to bring together the Astana and Geneva processes. We believe that the great political leverage that we in the UK and more broadly in the west have over the Russians and, indeed, over all those involved in the future of Syria, is that it is the west—the UK, the EU and the US—that has the budgets for rebuilding Syria. It is only if the Assad regime, the Russians and the Iranians accept the need for a political process that we can begin the process of rebuilding. As for Bukamal, communications are of course going on to de-conflict and to make sure that the factions concerned do not come into conflict.

In the right hon. Lady’s final point, she came back to the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Let me repeat that what everybody in this House wants to see is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release. That is exactly what the Foreign Office is working for. That is what we have been working for solidly over the past 18 months. It is simply untrue for the right hon. Lady to say, as she has said today, that there is any connection whatever between my remarks last week and the legal proceedings under way against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Tehran today. I say to her that she has a choice—she always has a choice in these matters. She can choose to heap blame on to the British Foreign Office, which is trying to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, but in so doing she deflects blame and accountability from those who are truly responsible for holding that mother in jail, and that is the Iranian regime. [Interruption.]