A senior Labour frontbencher today condemned the idea of UK forces killing British jihadis fighting for ISIS.
Key Corbyn ally Shami Chakrabarti branded Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson ‘appalling’ after he said airstrikes against potential threats were ‘legitimate’.
Mr Williamson has defied critics to stand by his comments last week, when he insisted: ‘A dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain.’
Interviewed on Sky News’ Sunday with Paterson today Baroness Chakrabarti said forces were entitled to attack ‘whoever is opposing you on the battlefield’.
But the shadow attorney general said Mr Williamson seemed to be suggesting a ‘kill list’ of potential targets.
‘If he is suggesting targeted assassinations of criminals who should instead be brought to justice, that is appalling,’ she said.
Key Corbyn ally Shami Chakrabarti (pictured in the Lords) branded Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson ‘appalling’ after he said airstrikes against potential threats were ‘legitimate
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has defied critics to stand by his comments last week, when he insisted: ‘A dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain.’
‘We do not want to hear a Defence Secretary abrogate the rule of law because the rule of law is what brave men and women who join our armed forces and put their lives at risk, that’s what they do it for, for the rule of law at home and abroad.’
Mr Williamson, who was promoted to the key role by Theresa May last month, faced outrage from Labour and the legal establishment for saying Britons who fought for Islamic State in Syria for saying everything possible should be done to ‘eliminate the threat’ from jihadis in Syria and Iraq.
But he has refused to back away from his remarks and said he believed he had the backing of the public.
‘The British people want to make sure that our streets are safe,’ Mr Williamson told the Daily Mail.
‘The British people are incredibly proud of our Armed Forces, the work they do – making sure that the people who are a threat to this country are not able to continue to threaten this country.
‘That’s what the British people want to know that their Government is doing. That is what we will continue to do.’
Former military chiefs have also supported Mr Williamson. Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded UK forces in Afghanistan, said: ‘We are fighting a war against these people. You don’t fight a war by constantly taking prisoners, you fight a war by killing your enemy.’
He added: ‘If you are dealing with terrorists who return from Syria and Iraq and try to prosecute them, it is very hard to get sufficient evidence to do so.
‘That’s a real danger, because it ends up with these returnees back on the street.’
The scale of the threat was graphically illustrated by new figures last week showing that terror arrests had soared to a record high. A total of 400 suspected extremists were held in counter-terror swoops in the year to September.
Mr Corbyn was ridiculed two years ago when he complained about an airstrike that killed ‘Jihadi John’ – Mohammed Emwazi (pictured) – in Syria
Despite the whole area being a war zone with no effective government, the Labour leader (pictured) suggested the killer, who had beheaded a series of hostages on camera, should have been arrested
At the same time, experts said MI5 had the resources to fully monitor only one in every 50 of the 3,000 jihadis who spy chiefs consider worthy of active investigation.
Mr Corbyn was ridiculed two years ago when he complained about an airstrike that killed ‘Jihadi John’ – Mohammed Emwazi – in Syria.
Despite the whole area being a war zone with no effective government, the Labour leader suggested the killer, who had beheaded a series of hostages on camera, should have been arrested.
‘It would have been far better for us all if he had been held to account in a court of law,’ he said.
‘These events only underline the necessity of accelerating international efforts, under the auspices of the UN, to bring an end to the Syrian conflict as part of a comprehensive regional settlement.’