Strike in Iraq to repeat no-fly zone success, says pilot turned MP

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A CALL for Iraqi air strikes has been made by a Yorkshire MP who once patrolled the no-fly zone over the country.

Colne Valley Conservative Jason McCartney is among many in his party said to be in favour of the UK intervening once again in Iraq, calling for air strikes against the Islamic State extremist group.

Tory whips have started taking the mood of MPs as the Government considers what moves it will have to take against a terrorist group which has already beheaded two hostages and threatened to do the same to a British man, David Haines.

Mr McCartney, an RAF officer who became an MP in 2010, said that while he had voted against intervention in Syria, the situation in Iraq called for a more direct response than just humanitarian aid.

He told The Yorkshire Post: “We are helping supply the brave Peshmerga forces on the ground but it is now time for us to join the US in targeted air strikes against the evil ISIL forces.

“This is not decision I take lightly. I voted for air strikes against Colonel Gaddafi’s forces in 2011 when civilians in Benghazi were facing slaughter but last year I voted against military action against Syria where the situation is extremely complex.

“We have a proud tradition of helping those in need around the world and as I told the dozens of wonderful Kurdish students I met at Huddersfield University last month, it is now time for us to take decisive air strikes against the barbaric Islamic State forces.”

Mr McCartney served on Operation Warden covering the no- fly zone over northern Iraq in the 1990s and said the coalition established by then Prime Minister John Major helped to bring peace to the region and defend the Kurds.

MPs will debate several global security threats next week, with many expected to set out their support for military action, though no vote is expected for intervention.

It is thought the Government is wary of rushing into a vote on action after it was defeated over plans to bomb Syria last year.

The Government is currently considering moves to arm the Kurds in Iraq, adding to the current policy of supplying equipment in the battle against the Islamic extremists.