Coffee House

Number 10 under fire for ‘succour’ comments

29 August 2013

There are currently two debates raging in Parliament at the moment. One is a reasonably measured (and lengthy) exchange in the House of Commons chamber about the merits of intervening in Syria, and the merits of today’s government motion and Labour amendment on Syria. The other is in the corridors of the Palace of Westminster, around the coffee tables of Portcullis House and on MPs’ smartphones as Labour rages about the suggestion from a Number 10 source this afternoon that Ed Miliband had his colleagues are giving succour to the Assad regime. After the leaders had spoken in the Commons, a Downing Street source was asked by journalists whether Miliband was giving succour to the Assad regime. The source replied:

‘Yes. The fact is that a lot of the arguments over this could give succour to the regime.’

Labour is furious about these comments, and has complained to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood about the ‘infantile and irresponsible’ comments.


While David Cameron only referred to Blair’s ghost in his statement, Number 10 is clearly furious with the way Miliband has performed and is keen to use the most dramatic language it possibly can at every stage. The anger is understandable, even if you think a delay in the deciding vote is no bad thing. But there is something slightly unprepossessing about walking into a question like that with any other answer than ‘that’s not how we’d phrase it’. It distracts from the considered arguments being made in the Chamber.

That debate in the Chamber has been respectful and thoughtful. But it hasn’t felt like a going-to-war debate, mainly because it isn’t one. There have been jokes and MPs have laughed at them – not many jokes, granted, but any banter is more than you’d expect in a real war debate. This is now just the dress rehearsal before the big vote.

Listen to the highlights of the Syria debate so far on our rolling audio blog.

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  • Colonel Mustard

    What a rancid, puerile coterie of wasted space they all are, huffing and puffing about a few words. In the mean spirit of the age Miliband should complain to PC Plod to give the nasty Tories a £90 on the spot fine for a Labourphobic hate crime.

    Mr Putin please invade and liberate us from these ghastly tossers. I can’t take much more of the primary school classroom that was once my country.

  • ButcombeMan

    LIke on Europe -Cameron has misread the public mood.

  • Ian Walker

    A whole summer’s good work, undone by an infantile desire to suck up to America. Attacking Assad won’t make the chemical weapons go away, it’ll just push them into the hands of the jihadis.

    • Noa

      Good work? Really the result of more spin than my LP collection than any real achievement by the Coalition.

  • dalai guevara

    Oh dear, judging by the number and depth of spectator blogs on this, this must
    have been one of the darkest days in the brief history of the incumbents.

    Why don’t you just tell us in more detail of HOW you believe we would
    have conducted a limited strike option without making a complete boob of
    ourselves? A bit of boots-on-the-ground insight, the ‘explosive’ stuff. I am all

  • asalord

    Westminster continues to squabble,seemingly oblivious to the fact that it’s America’s opinion which counts.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, but it’s little Davey’s job to provide a boost to his mate Barry. Barry and he are pals. They go out in shirt sleeves and call each other by their first names, and neat guy stuff like that. So Dave was supposed to come through, but he didn’t. Will this bromance last? Tune in tomorrow for the next chapter.

    • dalai guevara

      my lapdog avatar clearly does not agree with you.

  • david trant

    i’ve just seen David Davis on C4 news, he is even more opposed to intervention than Miliband, (if opposed he is) I do hope Dave will be attacking him for giving succour.

  • Russell

    Quite right…Forget the ‘bubble’ PC ‘that’s not the way I would put it’ and say exactly what you think the pathetic Milibands amendment and even more pathetic ‘speech’. Miliband and many Labour MP’s (and a few Conservatives) will have given succour to Assad and his slaughtering regime.

  • ToryOAP

    I am against any involvement in Syria but I also despise a man who agrees with the PM on a non-partisan, concerted course of action and then reneges because of weakness or political expediency. A sucker indeed.

    • telemachus

      Cameron was Blair style railroading us into war
      Miliband has correctly put the brakes on
      Miliband has read the will of the people
      Mudslinging fom Number 10 will gladly increase the resolve of Labour

      • telemackus

        It was good to see the clear eyed Miniband today proving why he is the best Prime Minister we have not had. And also all those in labour who were so enthusiastic for war in Iraq have now decided to be against so they can embarass Mr Cameron and Osbourne. But where was Gordon?

        • Noa

          “There have been jokes and MPs have laughed at them”

          I see you enter this debate in a similar frivolous spirit.

          • telemachus

            Noa old son
            This is serious
            We cruise bomb Assad
            He retaliates on Tel Aviv
            Israel launches a full scale bombing war on Damascus
            Iran sends troops to the aid of Assad
            Israel sends in ground troops
            Egypt seizes its chance for a second front
            The US come to the aid of Israel
            The US have not got enough ground troops to give Israel victory
            The US have to use a small tactical nuclear nuke for Tehran
            Russia mobilise…..

            • telemackus

              Nurse. Nurse. NURSE.

            • Noa

              You rightly identify that going to war and attacking the people of another nation is a most serious and imponderable business and not to be taken lightly.

              In this matter neither a bellicose, neo con Cameron, or his alter ego, the timorous and equivocating Miliband, have done themselves, or more importantly, the nation good service.

              • telemachus

                But the wavering suits the public mood
                My judgement is that the prospect of UK intervention is dead
                I doubt Obama will stay the distance without us

                • Noa

                  No. The public is firmly against intervention. Unlike the bulbous Abbott a havering Miliband wasted the opportunity to appear decisive on this deeply unpopular matter.

      • Andy

        Liar. Liar. Liar.

  • HookesLaw

    Its good to see No10 telling it plain about the dissembling Miliband.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …as if those Cameroonian muppets have ever said anything plain.

      • Andy

        The prat Millipede went back on his word – he mislead No10. And he has done so purely for party political reasons, to try and cleanse the fascist Labour Party of the lies over Iraq. Why else would you rush out an amendment to a motion which had itself not even been published ? Well it wont work. we all know that the Fascist Labour Party and the ghastly Blair lied, and lied, and lied.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …this partisan whining is going to make this all come out worse for the Cameroons than it already is.

    • dalai guevara

      hahaha! the comment of the night. respect, hooky – usually Maris comes top.

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