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Tory MP Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) stood before Parliament this week to seek assurances from the Government over the contribution that the UK is making towards the international effort against ISIL and safety of air strikes with regard to potential civilian casualties.
Addressing Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Stephen said: “I accept that there are no guarantees, but will my right hon. Friend assure the House that all measures will be taken to avoid civilian casualties from air strikes?”
The Defence Secretary replied: “Yes, the United Kingdom seeks to avoid civilian casualties. All air strikes are conducted under UK rules of engagement, which I have agreed for this campaign in accordance with the law.
“Close observation, careful selection and approval of targets before a strike, and the use of precision weapons, such as Brimstone and Paveway, minimise collateral damage and the potential for civilian casualties, in stark contrast with ISIL’s complete disregard for human life.”
Commenting today, Stephen said: “I believe it is vital that the UK plays a role in the international effort, and in doing so, we are sending a clear message that Britain along with its allies, will not tolerate the murderous and extremist campaign of ISIL in the Middle East.
However, we must do everything we can to ensure the safety of the innocent civilians in these regions, and to use our armed forces responsibly and effectively. I am pleased to hear that the Government is committed to this responsibility as Britain works for greater security in these troubled regions