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