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Mike Hookem MEP: "We cannot send British Forces into Syria without Combat Search and Rescue"


Published Nov 25, 2015

MH_Navy.jpgUKIP Defence Spokesman Mike Hookem has warned MPs ahead of the vote on action in Syria to remember that the UK no longer has its own combat search and rescue team should any military personnel find themselves in enemy territory.

The MEP and former soldier was speaking after a Russian aircraft was shot down over the border between Turkey and Syria and there were concerns the pilots had been killed.

"We have seen how dangerous and unstable the situation in and around Syria is and situation of the Russian pilots after they ejected from his aircraft demonstrates this" Mr Hookem said.

"It is irresponsible of MPs to rush into authorising the RAF to undertake airstrikes in Syria when we do not have a combat search and rescue following its privatisation by the Coalition government in 2012.

"And I would remind trigger happy MPs who are looking to offer a knee-jerk response to the tragic events in Paris which were facilitated by the EUs lax migrant policy of what happened to Cpl Mark Wright GC in 2006.

"He was left bleeding to death in Helmand Province following the decision by the joint helicopter base in Kandahar not to dispatch a US Blackhawk rescue helicopter despite the request of Lt Col Stuart Tootal, Commanding Officer of 3 PARA at the time.

"We have promised ourselves that we would learn lessons from the conflict in Afghanistan where 456 British service personnel lost their lives. This means that we must ensure we have a real and genuine need to involve our troops in any hostile action and that thet are provided with all the necessary equipment to carry out the mission.

"The government may have tried to counter their own disastrous Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010 which took an axe to our Armed Forces but much of the promises made this week will only come to fruition years down the line.

"UKIP policy has been that a grand coalition is needed to tackle the threat of Islamic State including the involvement of Arab nations rather than just the West."

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