The use of Air Strikes in Iraq

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On Friday 26th September, Parliament was recalled to debate and vote on the UK joining air strikes in Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), also known as IS or ISIS.

The wording of the Government motion put before the House of Commons was:

“That this House condemns the barbaric acts of ISIL against the peoples of Iraq including the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians and Yazidi and the humanitarian crisis this is causing; recognises the clear threat ISIL poses to the territorial integrity of Iraq and the request from the Government of Iraq for military support from the international community and the specific request to the UK Government for such support; further recognises the threat ISIL poses to wider international security and the UK directly through its sponsorship of terrorist attacks and its murder of a British hostage; acknowledges the broad coalition contributing to military support of the Government of Iraq including countries throughout the Middle East; further acknowledges the request of the Government of Iraq for international support to defend itself against the threat ISIL poses to Iraq and its citizens and the clear legal basis that this provides for action in Iraq; notes that this motion does not endorse UK air strikes in Syria as part of this campaign and any proposal to do so would be subject to a separate vote in Parliament; accordingly supports Her Majesty’s Government, working with allies, in supporting the Government of Iraq in protecting civilians and restoring its territorial integrity, including the use of UK air strikes to support Iraqi, including Kurdish, security forces’ efforts against ISIL in Iraq; notes that Her Majesty’s Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations; and offers its wholehearted support to the men and women of Her Majesty’s armed forces.”

Naturally, my postbag and email inbox were inundated with the views of local people. Some were for military intervention, some were against.

The night before the debate, having considered the matter, I was pretty sure I would be voting ‘no’. I wasn’t sure what the Royal Air Force would achieve in dropping more bombs in Iraq.

I went to London to listen to the debate, hear the arguments and seek advice on specific points.

I met the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright who explained that this was very limited action in response to a letter from the Iraqi Government asking us to use six RAF Tornado Jets to contain the advance of ISIL. He made the point that the Iraqi Government had stated specifically that it did not want any UK combat troops on the ground.

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Tessa takes Cancer Campaign to Number 10

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Tessa was joined by Top Clinical Oncologist, Nick Van As and England Rugby Star and campaigner Lawrence Dallaglio yesterday at Number 10 Downing Street.

The team were there to press David Cameron on increasing access to advanced radiotherapy for cancer patients.

Tessa said:

“In many instances, this type of cutting edge radiotherapy is more effective, quicker, less painful, and cheaper than drugs, yet the Government currently chooses to spend far more on pills, than radiotherapy.

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Failure of leadership at Somerset County Council

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Somerset County Council is starting the process of closing two children’s homes, (West End Cottage at Chedzoy near Bridgwater and Appledore, near West Pennard) after concerns were raised over the way they have been run.

Somerset County Council has stated these closures are “due to poor management, sub-standard care and concerns over safeguarding”.

Concerns were first brought to the attention of Conservative run Somerset County Council in  January this year, yet it seems to have taken a visit from Ofsted last week to trigger action.

Tessa said:

“Ofsted inspectors visited Somerset again last week.

 

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Recall of Parliament 26/09/2014

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As you may be Aware, Parliament will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the UK’s role in air strikes against Islamic State (Statement to follow).

This means I will not be able to attend my surgeries in Shepton Mallet and Chilcompton which are scheduled for tomorrow.

However, my caseworkers will be attending on my behalf, and will be happy to discuss any difficulties or concerns you may have.

If you would prefer to see me in person then my full surgery calendar is available here: http://www.tessamunt.org.uk/events/

Tessa Munt 

25th September 2014

 

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