Speaking after the Defence Secretary’s statement on the international coalition strategy to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria, Keith Simpson supports direct action but raises concerns that direct military action might encourage some young British people to want to go out and not only die for ISIS but kill their fellow British citizens.
Mr Keith Simpson (Broadland) (Con): The Secretary of State will be only too well aware that, over the past half an hour, there has been considerable division and difference of opinion with reference to his statement. That also applies to his strategy, which I fully support, of using direct military action against ISIS. The conundrum is that hundreds of young British people believe that what ISIS is doing is right. We are trying to put in place a strategy to deal with that. Does my right hon. Friend have any doubts in his mind that, sadly, direct military action might encourage those young people to want to go out and not only die for ISIS but kill their fellow British citizens?
Michael Fallon: I am clear that were we to intervene on the ground with combat troops, we could well help further to radicalise opinion in western Europe and encourage more support. That is exactly why the Prime Minister of Iraq for one has made it very clear that he does not want foreign troops on the ground and that this fight has to be a fight of the Iraqi army, which has to win back the support of the local population. There is therefore no question of our supplying combat troops on the ground in Iraq.
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