Below is a copy of the email I am sending to my constituents this morning, following last night’s vote in Parliament:

Good Morning,

Thank you for responding to my request for views on Syria. The responses from constituents were considered and measured. The vast majority were against any direct action on Syria – many of which were against direct action without a UN resolution – a view with which I totally agree.

The Government motion was defeated last night and so was the opposition amendment. I supported the Government motion because it proposed waiting for the UN weapons inspectors to finish their work and for the United Nations Security Council to consider their findings.

The motion also proposed ‘that every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken’.

Most crucially the motion gave an absolute commitment that ‘Before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place.’  That vote would have happened next week, after the weapons inspectors had reported back.

Because people have asked my position, let me make it clear that, in that second vote, I would have voted against military action unless it was supported by the UN – and indeed resigned from the front bench if necessary. After the government defeat last night, I don’t believe there will be a second vote – but my position remains the same.

I am an internationalist and the use of chemical weapons is a war crime. We must use the international bodies that uphold international law – or else we have nothing.

Furthermore, I am not persuaded that the sort of military intervention proposed – that of surgical strikes – would have made things better rather than worse.

I very much hope now that the international community will strive to find a diplomatic route with urgent and redoubled efforts. Assad and other such people should not take the vote last night as a green light on atrocities.

My focus now will be on ensuring vital humanitarian aid reaches those in Syria, and those fleeing the country.

Thank you again,



6 thoughts on “Syria

  1. Dear Ms Featherstone

    Thank you for keeping us, your constituents informed, and on this particular issue I feel very strongly that the right decision was made with the vote last night. I don’t think anybody could help not be moved by the footage and reporting about the plight of the Syrian people, but to ‘send a warning shot over his bow’ seemed insane. I do hope that you and your colleagues can keep up the pressure, and please know that the large majority of the UK population do not want this kind of ‘humanitarian action’.

    Yours sincerely
    Helen Povall
    (a Wood Green constituent)

  2. I just wanted to say thank you for your stand against the proposition of military intervention with Syria. I agree that we should look to the UN and other international bodies to intervene, and hopefully come up with a solution for this difficult problem.

  3. You were originally elected on an anti-war ticket. The Government’s motion was a vote for probable bombing.
    So yet again you have allowed the power of Government to influence your decision-taking on behalf of your constituents.
    Your behaviour appears really amoral or even immoral.

    And I want to know why there is money for bombing other countries at a time of austerity, when moneys are frozen (and effectively cut, as Joe Liddane told me)in the health and welfare sectors.

    In disgust

  4. As an aid worker of 14 years experience, many of which have been spent in conflict zones, I am frankly appalled and extremely disappointed by the lack of integrity and courage you showed in yesterdays commons vote. The justification for this action provided in the above statement is both flimsy and incredible and furthermore if you truly based your decision on the reasons stated it indicates you have little understanding of the complexities of the current situation and I’m assuming an acceptance of the highly subjective wording of the “Chemical Weapons Use by Syrian Regime – UK Government Legal Position”. If this is the case you are clearly unfit to make any rational decisions determining humanitarian assistance and strategy to Syria and anywhere else.

  5. Just wanted to echo Suzanne’s comments word for word – below is the text of an email I sent to Lynne on Friday:

    I am very disappointed that you chose to support the government in last nights vote in defiance of the vast majority of your constituents (who you claim to represent) and the British people. In voting for the motion you have left a door open for military action by the United Kingdom. It’s clear that Parliament and the British people did not want that – David Cameron finally ‘got that’ last night, the question is do you??

    I think you have served your constituents well during your time as our MP, but this issue is too important and you have found yourself on the wrong side of the argument. Campaigning to fix pot-holes on Haringeys roads is all very well and good but when it came down to it you have failed your constituents on one of the biggest foreign policy decisions in recent history and you have lost my support and my vote at the next election.

  6. When I found out parliament had been recalled, I emailed my constituents and asked them for their opinion. I received over 1200 responses and a looked at all of them.

    The vast majority were against any direct action on Syria – many of which were against direct action without a UN resolution – a view with which I totally agree.

    That’s why I supported the Government motion which called for a response from the international community to the crimes committed in Syria.

    I supported this because I believe all efforts should be focussed on finding an international, legal, and appropriate response via the UN.

    The Government motion also clearly stated that another vote would be necessary for the UK to get involved in direct military action.

    I have made it clear that – without UN approval – I would have voted against UK involvement in any direct military action in Syria when the issue came to Parliament.

    The full text of the Government motion is here:

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