Many people got in touch with me about the Prime Minister’s proposal to undertake airstrikes against Da’esh in Syria. I can confirm that I voted against the Government’s motion for airstrikes.
As colleagues on all sides of the argument have said this is one of the hardest decisions any MP has had to make. Action and inaction both have consequences. As you will know, the political situation regionally is immensely complicated and no one can confidently predict the repercussions of intervention.
On balance, having considered the briefings, listened to the parliamentary debate and the many constituents who contacted me with views from both sides of the argument, I decided I could not vote to take action when so many questions about the strategy remain unanswered. Question marks remain over the number and nature of the ground forces available and how many moderates exist.
As the Leader of the Opposition said during the debate, the Prime Minister offered no serious assessment of the impact of an intensified air campaign on civilian casualties in Da’esh held Syrian territory, or on the wider Syrian refugee crisis.
There is no doubt that Da’esh is a barbaric cult that poses a threat to ordinary people in the UK and across the Middle East. I believe we can take action by for instance building our intelligence capability and using diplomatic efforts to agree a peace process.
At the vote, I could not see that the Government had outlined a strategy that could address the multi-level complex political and military situation in Syria. While I completely understand the arguments about standing in solidarity with France and others, we should also ensure our action is realistic and as comprehensive as possible, but most of all, we need a political solution to the civil war