Debate on Syria Air Strikes 2nd December 2015

Wednesday 2nd December 2015

Syria Debate

Today all normal business in the House of Commons was cancelled so that we could debate a Government motion authorising British participation in air strikes against Daesh (ISIS, Islamic State, ISIL) in Syria.  A ‘Reasoned Amendment’ was tabled in the name of Conservative MP John Baron, and supported by MPs from six different Parties, saying that the case for British military involvement has not been made and declining to authorise military action by the UK.  I have signed this amendment and will be voting for it at 10pm tonight.  If the amendment fails, then I will vote against the Government’s motion – against British military involvement in air strikes in Syria.

I listened carefully to both the Prime Minister and the Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, this morning in the House of Commons.  Unfortunately, I was unable to speak because so many MPs had put their names in before me – a total of 157 – that there will not be enough time during the ten and a half hour debate to allow every MP to speak and even those who are called will be limited to just four minutes.  The Labour Party called for a two day debate on such an important issue.

I want to be absolutely clear to all my constituents who are reading this statement: I strongly oppose British military involvement in Syria.  This is obviously not because I have any support for the terrorist cult known as Daesh, but because I do not want us to be responsible for even more death and destruction in Raqqa and other targets in Syria.  I do not believe that British military hardware will remove Daesh any faster or more effectively than the Russian, US and French bombs are currently attempting to do but will instead kill even more civilians, in spite of the Prime Minister’s promise that British weapons were the best and most accurate in the world, and would therefore cause no ‘collateral damage’.

UK involvement in Syria would make us part of a six-sided conflict and it will be unclear just who we are supporting and helping.  I do not believe that there are 70,000 ‘moderate’ anti-government fighters waiting for the destruction of Daesh before establishing a democratic Syrian state and removing Bashar al-Assad and his loathsome regime.  Many of the fighters in this appalling civil war are also Jihadists too.

In my opinion the only way to deal with Daesh is to cut off their funding, arms and supplies and to help those forces, like the Kurdish Peshmerga, who have had some success in re-taking territory from Daesh.  We need a unified and determined campaign agreed by all nations affected by the rise of Daesh to defeat this death cult and end its reign of terror.  Without a strategic plan for what will happen after ariel bombardment has degraded and destroyed Daesh, supposing it is successful in doing so, there will be further chaos in Syria and Iraq, with further loss of life – something which is totally unacceptable to me and I believe most of my constituents.