POLITICS

Labour MP Sent Photo Of Dead Baby In Post For Backing Syria Airstrikes As Debate Turns Ugly

02/12/2015 10:06 GMT | Updated 02/12/2015 10:59 GMT
REX Features

A Labour MP who intends to vote in favour of airstrikes against Isis in Syria today has been sent a photo of a dead baby through the post, amid complaints about abuse from anti-war Labour activists.

Peter Kyle, the MP for Hove, who was an aid worker in the Balkans, said: "As somebody who has worked in the field as an aid worker I don’t need to see that photograph to understand how shocking what can happen in conflict is."

He told The Daily Telegraph: "People have put deep thought and a lot of anguish into this decision and are taking a very principled stance. We need to have respect for each other’s views on this."

MPs will vote on whether to launch RAF strikes against Isis this evening following a ten and half hour debate in the Commons.

Jeremy Corbyn is opposed to military action but granted his MPs a free vote on the issue in the face of a revolt by his shadow cabinet.

jeremy corbyn

David Cameron is expected to win the vote thanks to the support of pro-bombing Labour MPs. And the debate within Labour has become deeply acrimonious.

Yesterday shadow minister and Corbyn-supporter Clive Lewis told pro-bombing colleagues it would be "their fault" if the war extended "with no ends".

Labour MP John Woodcock, who intends to vote for military strikes, confronted Lewis in parliament's Portcullis House building over the comments.

Lewis insisted his words were being taken out of context. Woodcock countered he had the transcript. To which Lewis snapped and replied: "You want to start this - so we will finish it, fuck you".


Labour MPs have also complained about being threatened with deselection ahead of the next election and being accused of having "blood" on their hands should they vote with the government tonight.

In a post on Facebook, Hull North MP Diana Johnson said she had received a letter that read: "Six months after the Vote on bombing Syria the Labour Party Members will lobby in the Constituency Labour Parties to move a vote of no confidence at constituencies meetings in those Labour Party MPs who vote to bomb Syria.

"If the Vote of no confidence is carried the MPs can then limp on until their selection at the next general election when they will be deselected.

"During the 4 year period in the run up to the next general election the whole country will now of the no confidence in the MPs from their Labour Party constituencies.

It added: "That is the least the Labour Party members will do to try to wash the blood from their hands of the innocent civilians which the bombs will surely kill."

Corbyn's comment to Channel 4 News that "any selection, reselection or deselection is at least three years away" has also unsettled MPs.

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, who ran to be the party's deputy leader and has yet to decide whether or not to vote for strikes, saw protests outside her house last night.

Dan Jarvis, the MP for Barnsley Central who served in the British Army, told LBC radio the abuse pro-airstrike MPs had been getting was "shameful".

"There are strong opinions on both sides of this debate what I do regret is the tone and atmosphere in which we are now having it there has been some shameful bullying and intimidation of people to try and make them vote in a particular way," he said. "There is no doubt that many of my colleagues have been submitted to a shameful level of intimidation and abuse."

Jarvis said it was "completely unacceptable and hugely regrettable we have to stand up against it".

He added: "Labour MPs should be allowed to get on and make the decision that they believe to be right. They should be able to make it without the shameful level of intimidation and abuse they have been receiving."

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