Since I last wrote Parliament has taken the difficult decision to join air strikes in Iraq as the UK joins the comprehensive strategy the west has developed to defeat ISIL, writes MP for South Northants, Andrea Leadsom.
ISIL is an abhorrent organisation which cannot be reasoned with. They are murdering civilians in Iraq and Syria and horrifically executing western hostages. ISIL is a direct threat to Britain and has the capacity to visit terror on the UK and elsewhere. The Iraqi government has asked for assistance – which is why Parliament was recalled recently so we could agree to Britain playing its part in international air strikes against ISIL in Iraq.
This does not involve British combat troops on the ground. In Britain, when we are threatened in this way we should not turn away from what needs to be done. The vote in Parliament was to take part in international action against ISIL in Iraq – if there was a question of taking part in action in Syria that would require a separate Parliamentary vote and debate. I believe it was right that Parliament passed the proposed measures and that all parties united to take action against ISIL.
Much closer to home, I had a delightful visit to Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School in Towcester to chat with students and their headteacher. I am always extremely impressed with how much young people know and understand about politics in our country. The challenge is to ensure our children continue their interest in politics and current affairs throughout their lives. I hope there will be plenty of opportunities for us all to engage in politics as we move towards the 2015 election.
My role as a treasury minister recently took me on a visit to India to launch a financial partnership between our two countries. The partnership will enable deeper financial cooperation. Sharing our knowledge and expertise will open up new opportunities for our financial services industries and the economies of both of our nations. Parliament has now returned for a busy session until Christmas and I am sure there will be lots to update you on in future columns.