G20 and the Paris Attacks — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:54 pm on 17th November 2015.

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Photo of Lord Reid of Cardowan Lord Reid of Cardowan Labour 3:54 pm, 17th November 2015

My Lords, there is a great deal in the Prime Minister’s Statement with which I concur—not least his sentence which was very simple but should mean a lot to all of us:

“In this situation we do not protect the British people by sitting back and wishing things were different”.

In that context, I make just two comments to the Leader of the House. First, it is absolutely proper that we should be engaged in trying to find a political solution to some of the problems in Syria, but we would be operating under a delusion and deceiving the people of this country if we implied that even should a political solution—with President Assad or without him—be achieved tomorrow, it would solve the problem of ISIL. It will not. This is part of a long-running, generational attempt to establish an Islamo-fascist empire under people who will stop at nothing. Therefore, it is to delude the people of this country to say that opposing ISIL is somehow made redundant if we achieve a political solution.

The second thing is what is missing from the Statement in terms of domestic security. Last week I asked the relevant Minister, and received assurances, about the scrutiny of refugees coming to this country. However, 750 UK citizens have gone off to Syria, 450 of whom have come back. They are prime facie not only sympathisers but active supporters of the atrocities that have been carried out by ISIL abroad, and there is every reason to suspect that they will continue that sympathy, and potentially that action, in this country. What are the Government doing about the 450 who have come back, and why was there no mention of them in today’s Statement?