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John McDonnell: Syria airstrikes shameful step backwards

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell Credit: PA

The shadow chancellor has said the decision to bomb Syria is a "shameful step backwards" and warned it could foster another generation of militants determined to commit a Paris-style terror attack.

John McDonnell said the air strikes launched this week would result in the loss of lives and could make Britain less safe.

He reiterated his comments about Hilary Benn's speech in favour of the strikes against Islamic State (IS) - warning that the finest oratory can lead to the greatest mistakes.

Addressing The People's Assembly conference in central London, Mr McDonnell said: "I have to say this week was a disgraceful, shameful step backwards. And I find it appalling."

I know some people found some of the speeches in the great parliamentary tradition and all the rest of it.

But as I commented afterwards, some of the greatest oratory in the past has led us towards our greatest mistakes.

I think what we will see from the decision this week is not just loss of life, but I also think it will embed, for another generation unfortunately, some of the issues and problems that we saw in Paris.

It is a tragedy, an absolute tragedy.

– John McDonnell

He said a political solution should have been pursued rather than a bombing campaign.

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