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Labour MPs have chance to decide policy on Syria

PLP Syria debateAn emergency meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) has been called at 12:30pm tomorrow to discuss Syria following an appeal to its Chair, David Watts, by Michael Meacher MP “in order that the range and depth of feeling in the PLP can be registered before any final decisions are taken both as to the nature of our response and the basis on which the party might vote“.

All too often in recent years, including under Ed Miliband’s leadership, Labour MPs have been whipped to vote in parliament on very controversial matters on the basis of a decision by a tiny number of people, and frequently without any proper debate by the Shadow Cabinet. Often this happens at the last minute without any chance by the normal weekly PLP to discuss it.

Yesterday, Ed Miliband announced after meeting with the Prime Minister:

The use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians is abhorrent and cannot be ignored. When I saw the Prime Minister this afternoon I said to him the Labour Party would consider supporting international action but only on the basis that it was legal, that it was specifically limited to deterring the future use of chemical weapons and that any action contemplated had clear and achievable military goals. We will be scrutinising any action contemplated on that basis.”

This is an opportunity for Labour MPs to make their views count. In grassroots forums in the party, this would be done by having a vote. We shall see if Labour MPs follow this normal democratic practice. It would also be unreasonable for front benchers to be whipped within the PLP (as is normally the case) on a matter on which they have had no previous input.

Labour Party members and constituents of Labour MPs could make their views known to their representatives.

3 Comments

  1. John p Reid says:

    Prospective M.Ps selected in marginals should ask their local PLPs if they’ve got the chance, why gay marriage wasnt whipped I don’t know, David watts I s a decent mqn, he should take Meachers views into account and we should point out that although there is a rush, that grass roots should tell their M.Ps to go with their gut ,and not with the flow,

  2. Gary Elsby says:

    My MP, whoever he is, will do whatever Peter Mandelson would want him to do, regardless of any outside constituent input.

  3. Samuel Dada says:

    Labour MP should vote no for military action against Syria. When is Britain becoming an Agent to to al-Quada. There is clear leader among the so call rebel, They are bunch of Jihadist from all over. al-Sadd might be a munster, there is a better way of resolving this problem than military action.

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