Why wasn’t our MP in Parliament to debate Iraq crisis in Iraq?

MP’s were urgently recalled to The House of Commons last Friday to debate the Iraq Crisis with a view to deciding whether RAF fighters should be used to make strikes against the Isis terrorists. Possibly the most important debate, thus far, of the century?

I would like to know why Lewes MP, Norman Baker, failed to vote or even attend the debate? Reportedly, he was spotted drinking coffee at Lewes Bus Station on Friday afternoon while the debate was taking place.

I would like an explanation and I am sure that I am not alone.

Richard Shaw


Response from Norman Baker MP:

I have closely followed events in the Middle East, including the very worrying rise of the so-called Islamic State.

In my view, however, this problem is best dealt with by the regional powers, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as Iraq itself, and I am not convinced of either the efficacy or morality of yet another bombing campaign by the West.

We have, after all, been bombing Iraq on and off for around 25 years with precious little to show for it. The involvement of the US and UK has allowed IS to present this action as an attack on Islam, which is not an argument that could have been sustained if, say, Saudi Arabia had been in the lead. There is no question that they have the firepower – after all, we have sold them much of it. I therefore decided to abstain as I did not want to vote for bombing by the UK.

In addition, the recall of Parliament took place at short notice and I had a full diary of constituency commitments from 9am through to 4.30, in East Dean, Newhaven and Lewes, and naturally I was loth to cancel those engagements. The café meeting referred to was in fact with a constituent over an environmental matter.