It has been announced that Jeremy Corbyn will not put his whips to use and will allow his Labour MPs a free vote on the decision whether to initiate airstrikes on ISIL forces in Syria.
David Cameron’s proposal to strike ISIS in Syria is expected to push through on the side of yay with a huge majority of Conservative MPs and some Labour MPs expected to vote in favour of air strikes. If the proposal is passed then British air strikes will be extended into Syria, British jets are currently striking region of Iraq.
The move to allow a free vote for his MPs is thought to be the correct one. It is predicted that in regards to percentages it would not make a major difference to the voting outcome if Corbyn was to instruct his party whips to prioritise voting against David Cameron’s proposal. Furthermore, if Corbyn did indeed force Labour MPs to vote against Cameron’s proposals then the move would not have been popular among Labour MPs and would likely increase tensions within the party. On the other hand, Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated that the party’s stance is against airstrikes on ISIS – in Syria.
Before today rumors were abound that Jeremy Corbyn would instruct his party whips to force Labour MPs to vote against air strikes in Syria. The Labour leader has been a staunch anti-war MP throughout his life as a public servant. Corbyn has campaigned against the war in Iraq, he voted against air strikes against Gadaffi in Libya and has campaigned on human rights issues abroad as well as anti-austerity measures in the UK.
Despite Corbyn allowing his MPs a free vote this is not to say that he isn’t 100% against an increase in airstrikes in the region. In terms of political power, Jeremy Corbyn has never been more powerful than he is now – he is the leader of the second biggest political party in the country. But disappointingly for Corbyn supporters, Corbyn has had little effect in parliament thus far. Corbyn’s first responsibility is to unite the Labour party under his banner – easier said then done. Corbyns hard left-wing approach takes the labour party in an opposite direction to that which Blair and even Milliband lead them, but some MPs in the Labour party seemingly do not like this.
MPs such as Andy Burnham have clashed with Corbyn on certain views in the past and compared with the Conservative party, which is in its second term in power, the Labour party is a mess. If Corbyn is to be Prime Minister in 2020 then he needs to do what Ed Milliband failed to do – Corbyn must unite his party and bring it away from the middle right wing. Milliband was criticised from failing to prioritise anti-austerity in the run up to the 2015 election, Corbyn must make the party a party of the people, he must raise the living wage and not punish the poorer sections of society in a way that the Conservatives are currently specialising in doing.