LONDON — A Labour government would suspend British air strikes against targets in war-torn Syria, leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Sunday.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Corbyn said that if elected prime minister he would urge US President Donald Trump to stop launching attacks on Syrian targets and instead focus on renewing international peace talks.
RAF warplanes are currently engaged in hitting ISIS targets in Syria and other countries in the region but UK government has decided not to follow Trump’s lead by launching attacks the Assad regime.
Asked about whether Britain would continue to take part in strikes under his leadership, Corbyn said: “I would say to President Trump ‘Listen, it’s nobody’s interests for this war to continue. Let’s get the Geneva process going quickly.
“In the meantime, no more strikes. Have the UN investigation into the war crime of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and take it on from there.”
He added: “I want us to say ‘Listen, let’s get people around the table quickly’. A way of achieving that – suspend the strikes? Possibly. The point has to be to bring about a political solution.”
Corbyn, who has been a lifelong opponent of military intervention overseas, also refused to confirm whether he would be willing to authorise a drone strike on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi if British intelligence learnt his whereabouts.
“What is the objective here? Is the objective to start more strikes which may kill many innocent people, as has happened, or is the objective to get a political solution in Syria? Approach it from that position,” he told Marr.
“I think the leader of Isis not being around would be helpful. I am no supporter or defender in any way whatsoever of ISIS. But I would also argue that the bombing campaign has killed a large number of civilians who are virtually prisoners of ISIS, so you have got to think about these things.”
Tory party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin said the country would be at greater risk of terrorist attack if governed by the Labour leader as he is “not suitable” to make “uncomfortable decisions” relating to terrorism and security.
Corbyn pledges to ‘transform the lives’ of the Scottish public
Corbyn is currently campaigning around the country head of the general election on June 8. Today he is in Scotland, where he will tell voters that a Labour government will “transform the lives” of the Scottish public.
He is set to pledge a pay rise for half a million Scots by raising the national minimum wage to £10 an hour, a Brexit deal that will “protect working people,” and the repeal of the Trade Unions Act to give workers greater protections.
Corbyn is set to tell the Scottish Trades Union Congress on Monday: “While the timing of the election was unexpected, the choice is clear and the stakes are high. Let no-one be in any doubt — we are in this election to win it and we will fight for every seat in every corner of these isles.
“The choice facing the country is clear. It’s the people versus the powerful. Labour will challenge the rigged system that is holding our country back. And just like trade unions, we will stand for the many not the few,” he will say.
“Labour will never, ever apologise for the closeness of our relationship with the trade union movement – you are our family.”
Current polling indicates Theresa May’s Conservatives are heading for a landslide victory at the snap general election.
An ICM poll published on Sunday gave the Tories a 22-point lead over Corbyn’s Labour with the government set to return to office with an increased majority and considerably stronger grip on the House of Commons.
Over the weekend, Corbyn said a Labour government would introduce four new bank holidays to celebrate the diversity of British history. They would fall on the patron saint’s day of each of the home nations and apply to the whole of the UK: St George’s Day, St David’s Day, St Andrew’s Day and St Patrick’s Day.
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