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Syria airstrikes: DUP's Nigel Dodds says Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to oppose the Government

The North Belfast MP was responding to David Cameron's plan for airstrikes on Isis in Syria

By Claire Cromie

Nigel Dodds has said Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are unfit to oppose the Government, slamming the Labour leadership's opposition to airstrikes in Syria as "petulant and putrid".

The DUP MP for North Belfast was responding to the Prime Minister's statement in the House of Commons on Thursday, when David Cameron set out his case for bombing Isis in Syria.

"If the Prime Minister is rising to the occasion, we already have our answer about the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow chancellor," said Mr Dodds.

"There has been no enemy of Britain’s they haven’t defended, no cause of this country they haven’t denigrated, no security service they haven’t scorned and abused.

"These men are unfit to oppose and their opposition to action doesn’t stem from the sincere scruples I, or my colleagues, or the Foreign Affairs Committee share. It’s the petulant, putrid response of the irresponsible revolutionary bedsit they barely seem to have clambered out of.

"No more time should be wasted on the opinions of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. And for Labour and the country’s sake, I hope Labour MPs waste no more time either. They have very little time left."

The Prime Minister appealed for MPs to back British airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) in Syria, asking: "If not now, when?"

David Cameron said the UK could not afford to "stand aside" from the fight and it was "morally" unacceptable to leave the US, France and other allies to carry the burden.

He insisted there was strong legal justification for extending the current military action in Iraq, on grounds of self-defence and the recent UN Security Council resolution.

In a statement to the Commons, Mr Cameron admitted that IS - also known as Isis, Isil and Daesh - could not be defeated by airstrikes alone. But he argued it was a key part of a wider "comprehensive" strategy to deal with the threat.

Mr Dodds responded said any military action needed a credible exit strategy.

“Northern Ireland knows only too well the consequences of terrorism being appeased and indulged too long," he said.

"If the evidence suggests we should act, then we must. At times like this it is right to thanks our brave and precious servicemen and women who stand ready to do their duty.

"I have heard the case David Cameron has made in advance of any vote in the House of Commons. I want to be assured further that, should we act, we have a credible exit strategy.

"The era of constantly seeking to solve Middle Eastern problems with Western force cannot endure forever. This is no more in their interests than it is in ours."

The DUP deputy leader added: "There is a case for our using force to stop the monsters before they get any closer to us. But the Prime Minister and Chancellor need to realise that past foreign policy failures they have supported have had their inevitable sapping result. The end result of intervening where we should not is that there is understandably little public or professional support for doing so when we should.

"All credible current and future Prime Ministers should know that indiscriminate interventionism is in its own way as futile as the dogmatic anti-interventionism of the current Opposition leadership.

"Parliament must reflect soberly and well on the responsibility lying on it over the next few days. For our part we will put our national security first. Unlike last time the Prime Minister is making it clear the only target would be the death cult of Daesh. Safeguarding our citizens at home and abroad must be our overriding duty."

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