Corbyn faces resignations over Syrian air strikes question

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Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, is facing resignations from the Shadow Cabinet after he refused to back the Government’s proposals for air strikes in Syria.

Corbyn has cancelled a trip to campaign in the Oldham West by-election in order to deal with the division in the party. Corbyn had previously insisted that the party vote as one over the issue as air strikes and Diane Abbott, the Shadow International Development Secretary, said:

“Jeremy appoints the shadow cabinet – not the other way round.¬†You cannot have a shadow cabinet voting down the leader of the Labour Party who has just been elected with the biggest mandate in history”.

However, Hilary Benn, the Shadow Foreign Secretary said that the case for air strikes was “compelling”. A meeting of the Shadow Cabinet took place yesterday when there was opposition to the leader’s plans but a decision was taken to delay deciding on a final policy. Instead of the delay Corbyn then confirmed that Labour would not support air strikes.

Ken Livingstone, the former London Mayor, suggested that Corbyn would have to climb-down over his decision over not holding a free vote. Livingstone said on BBC’s Question Time:

“You can’t force people to vote to kill other people or not to vote to kill them”.