Sir Peter Tapsell and the Middle East

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Louth and Horncastle MP Sir Peter Tapsell has called on Britain not to get involved in the conflict in the Middle East.

Sir Peter, speaking in a House of Commons debate on the problem of British Jihadists, referred to the conflict as a “religious civil war.”

Sir Peter, who will step down as an MP at next year’s General Election, said the current situation was a historical issue, dating back 1,300 years.

However, his views were rejected by Prime Minster David Cameron, who countered by blaming Governments in Syria and Iraq for the rise of the extremist Islam group ISIS.

Sir Peter said: “Does the Prime Minister recognise that one of the reasons why there are misguided British jihadists fighting in Arabia is the folly of those in the Gulf and in the west who first encouraged and then supported a Sunni rebellion against the Syrian Alawites?

“We must avoid, under the banner of democracy, intervening in a religious civil war that has already lasted for 1,300 years.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said he “was not sure” he agreed with Sir Peter’s assessment.

He said: “I always listen very carefully to the Father of the House, but on this occasion I am not sure I agree with him.

“I would argue that the rise of the Islamic State - of ISIS - has had two principal causes: one is the brutality that Assad (Syrian president) has shown to his own people and the second is the failure of the Government in Iraq to represent all of its people.

“We need to recognise that it is those two issues that have been the principal cause of this problem, together with the real problem which is the Islamist extremist narrative that finds any broken state, any source of conflict, any sign of weakness and exploits it.”