The Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence have expressed fury after a Labour MP and peer travelled to Syria earlier this month in defiance of government travel advice. Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Maurice Glasman travelled to Kobani on 4 April, with the Corbynista MP extraordinarily live-tweeting his location as the delegation moved through Syria. The first the FCO and MoD knew about the trip was when they received intelligence that a British MP and peer were in Syria. This sparked panic across the two departments, with officials furious that the lives of British armed forces would be put at risk if they had to be sent in should something go wrong.
Today I visited #kobani seeing support for displaced people (refugeees from #afrin), war graves of local & international fighters for democracy & socialism & met with local officials which all are gender balanced but worried about totatalairanism & aggression from Turkey pic.twitter.com/TKxNUjuWxK
— Lloyd Russell-Moyle (@lloyd_rm) April 4, 2018
The FCO clearly advises “against all travel to Syria” and warns “there is a very high threat of kidnapping throughout Syria”. A serving MP’s decision to defy this advice and then live-tweet his location has led some Whitehall officials to lobby for an investigation into the trip. Officials at the Ministry of Justice and Home Office are worried that the visit could legitimise others considering travelling to Syria, and have expressed concerns about the impact the trip could have on ongoing court cases involving other Britons who have returned from the country.
A government source said: “This was an utterly reckless act that could have led to our armed forces being put in danger had they been kidnapped. It is mind-numbingly stupid given the political climate and could have severe consequences in terms of ongoing court cases over here.”
A second government source said: “Travel advice is very clear – by going to a dangerous region you are not only putting yourself at risk but also the individuals who would have to take part in a rescue operation. It’s incredibly stupid of an MP to do this and shows a real lack of judgement.”
Russell-Moyle wrote up his experience in Syria for the far-left website Evolve Politics and spoke about it at the Stop the War rally last night. Taking the Corbynista delusion on Syria to new stupid extremes…
UPDATE: Statement from Russell-Moyle:
“I did inform the FCO before I departed, informing them of our movements. I met with UK Ambassador in Iraq, the UK Consul-General in Erbil before & with him on the day we returned to debrief. We received security protection form Gov. of Kurdish Iraq and Northern Syrian Government.”
Yet the first the FCO and MoD heard about the trip was while he was there…