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Boris Johnson returns from holiday amid opposition pressure

January 5, 2020 at 4:52 pm

People take part in an anti-war rally following the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani by a US airstrike in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on January 04, 2020 at Downing Street in London, United Kingdom [İlyas Tayfun Salcı / Anadolu Agency]

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to return from his luxury holiday in the Caribbean to address the situation in Iran following pressure from the opposition.

Top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was assassinated on Friday overnight at Baghdad Airport by a US airstrike, after which Johnson has remained silent, instead deploying foreign minister Dominic Raab to deal with the situation.

Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn wrote to Boris Johnson demanding an emergency meeting on the assassination.

He said in a tweet: “I’ve written to Boris Johnson requesting an urgent Privy Council briefing and answers to questions following the US assassination of Qassem Suleimani.”

The letter posed a series of questions, including whether or not the UK was informed of the assassination before it went ahead, and if so, what sort of advice did the UK government give to the Trump administration?

Corbyn said: “The US assassination of Qasem Soleimani is an extremely serious and dangerous escalation of conflict with global significance. The UK government should urge restraint on the part of both Iran and the US, and stand up to the belligerent actions and rhetoric coming from the US.”

Read: British navy to escort UK-flagged ships through Strait of Hormuz

Boris Johnson was spending parliamentary recess on the luxury private Caribbean island of Mustique, just off the coast of St Vincent and the Grenadines with girlfriend Carrie Symonds.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News that the UK were “on the same page” as the US following the attack, and expressed sympathy, saying the US had the right to defend itself.

This comes as Iraqi parliament voted to expel all foreign troops from their country, hours after US President Donald Trump sent 3000 additional US soldiers to the region.

The Iraqi foreign minister has also lodged a complaint to the United Nations (UN) regarding the assassination of General Soleimani.

Trump has threatened to hit Iran “hard and fast” if they retaliate to the US, claiming to be targeting 52 Iranian sites of cultural significance, a tactic deployed by the terror group Daesh, and is considered a war crime by the UN.

Read: Iraq parliament passes resolution to expel US troops