Today I have written to constituents to set out my position on Syria. You can read my letter here:
It is likely that in the forthcoming days MPs will be asked to vote on whether the UK takes part in air strikes in Syria. I have received a huge amount of correspondence regarding this crucial issue and I therefore wanted to make my position clear.
I was present in Parliament last Thursday and listened intently to the Prime Minister’s statement when he set out his case for UK forces to commence a bombing campaign against ISIS / Daesh in Syria.
Voting for military action is one of the most difficult decisions an MP could possibly face and it is not a decision which I take lightly. I have taken time to read your emails as well as speaking to members, constituents, colleagues and experts gauging their thoughts and views.
The UK is under severe threat from an ISIS / Daesh attack and in recent months there have been as many as seven foiled attacks. As in the recent attacks in Paris and Tunisia, fatal terrorist attacks in modern times in the UK have been carried out by home-grown jihadists. I am not convinced that airstrikes in Syria will ultimately make us any safer here in the UK. Instead, I believe that we need to invest further in policing and a wider counter-terrorism strategy.
The situation in Syria is incredibly complex and I am deeply conscious that at the heart of this debate are millions of innocent civilians. Without doubt the world cannot sit back while this humanitarian crisis persists and I certainly do not advocate a policy of passively doing nothing. However, I do not believe that the airstrikes proposed by the Prime Minister are the best form of action to take at this time and I am also unconvinced that there are currently ground forces with the capability to defeat ISIS / Daesh, without which airstrikes are of extremely limited use even just for a military strategy.
On this basis the Prime Minister has failed to convince me that pursuing air strikes in Syria is part of a longer-term and comprehensive strategy and I therefore intend to vote against the motion.
I want to thank everyone for contacting me with their views. I hope I have helped you understand why I have taken the decision that I have.