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East Anglia MEP says he was warned about security threat during visit to Iraq

PUBLISHED: 15:35 30 January 2017 | UPDATED: 18:08 30 January 2017

David C. Bannerman on the front like with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Photo: Matthew Robinson

David C. Bannerman on the front like with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Photo: Matthew Robinson

Matthew Robinson

An Eastern region MEP said he had heard first hand about the threats to our security during a visit to Iraq as he called for vetting measures to be tightened in Britain.

David Campbell Bannerman criticised the “exaggerated” reaction to Donald Trump’s “extreme vetting” plan after he was criticised for a social media post in which he said it was reassuring to see that fast action could be taken in the US.

US President Donald Trump issued the executive order which means no visas are being issued to migrants or visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

The Euro MP for the East of England has been chairman of the Iraqi delegation from the European Parliament for two and a half years. He travelled to Iraqi Kurdistan in 2015 where he travelled to the front line in the fight against Islamic State with Peshmerga troops.

The Conservative MEP said he was told during security briefings in Kurdistan, and also from the Israelis, that the west were “mad” not to impose greater controls on their borders. “They said it was crazy because there were definitely terrorists coming through using the fact that many refugees are being let in without proper checks,” he added.

Mr Campbell-Bannerman is regularly briefed on security in the European Parliament and has met victims of so-called Islamic State.

He insisted that the Donald Trump team visa ban decision was “up to them”. But said: “There are big security issues. All they are doing is a temporary ban in order to enhance vetting procedures.”

He said that he would not argue for the same approach to a visa ban in the UK. But said there needed to be closer checks, claiming Britain was “naïve” about refugees and illegal coming in.

“I would say we have got to be vigilant. We do have a major security threat. I am hearing it from all my Middle-East contacts.”

“I think we need to do more. I would like to see more vetting in general.”

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