Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has backed down on a previous commitment that the Labour Party would vote as one on Syria. Facing with resignations from the Shadow Cabinet, the Labour leader today confirmed that MPs in the party would be able to vote with their consciences.
Diane Abbott, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, had earlier rejected such a policy saying that if Jeremy Corbyn agreed to a free vote then it would “hand victory to Cameron over these air strikes, it hands victory to him on a plate”.
The Labour leader has though written to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, asking for a two-day debate on air strikes. In his letter he wrote:
“As of this morning we have not had a clear proposal from the government on when you plan to bring forward a motion to the house on airstrikes in Syria or on arrangements for the debate.
In the view of the opposition on a matter of such critical importance there must be full and adequate time for any debate in the house and only a full two-day debate would ensure time for all members who wish to participate to be able to do so.
As has happened previously a one-day debate would inevitably lead to important contributions being curtailed. It is incumbent on us all to ensure the country feels there has been the fullest parliamentary discussion of what you have rightly described as a highly complex situation”.