Crabb: Tough action needed over ISIS at home and abroad

Stephen Crabb MP
Image caption Stephen Crabb: You don't defeat terrorism just through warm words of solidarity alone

I've been interviewing Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb about the Paris attacks. He told me MPs should look again at whether the UK government should bomb so-called Islamic State targets in Syria after the "violence and barbarity" of Friday night.

Mr Crabb said the killings showed the need to confront a group which he said presented the biggest threat to the international community since Nazism in the 1930s. And he warned that the battle against Islamic extremism also had to be won at home in Wales.

"We do this country a huge disservice if we bury our heads in the sand and think this problem will go away. It requires some tough action internationally but also in this country too."

Mr Crabb, whose wife Beatrice is French, said: "Warm words of solidarity, all the outpouring of unity and shared grief that we've seen on social media is important at times like this but it's not enough. You don't defeat terrorism just through that alone and it requires some clear-sighted action on the part of this government, alongside our partners internationally, to defeat ISIS in its heartland.

"And yes, I do think it's time now to look again at whether the UK government should be supporting military action in Syria, right in the nerve centre of where ISIS is controlling so much of this violence and barbarity."

Prime minister David Cameron has said he will not ask MPs to back military action until he is certain he will win a vote. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he would not support British involvement at the moment.


Asked what he would say to MPs who have doubts, Mr Crabb said: "Look at the carnage we saw just a few miles from our own shores on Friday. Look at the mass graves of women uncovered today in Syria. Look at the violence and the carnage that ISIS, this so-called Islamic State is inflicting globally and understand that we've not seen a threat like this to the international community since the days of Nazism in the 1930s and as we did then we need to show unity and resolve and confront and defeat this."

He said there was "nothing symbolic" about military action, which could "cut down and eradicate the capabilities" of Islamic State to inflict damage in Europe and elsewhere.

He added: "It's also a battle we need to win at home. We cannot pretend we don't have problems within these shores in terms of confronting the poisonous ideology that creates such a permissive environment for home-grown terrorists to emerge too.

"We can't pretend that there isn't a problem within these shores. Even within in Wales we have seen people born and bred in this country who've gone through Welsh schools, gone through Welsh youth clubs, leave this country to be part of a barbaric, violent death cult in Syria and that requires us to ask deep questions of the kind of society we're living in and of the kind of measures that we need to take to confront and challenge that."