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View from Westminster - Syria special - August 30, 2013
5:00pm Friday 30th August 2013 in Local
AS an MP I receive many, many emails from constituents about a wide range of issues. Most are computer generated campaign messages.
Over the last few days I have received a number concerning Syria. Every one of them was written from the heart and every one of them was against our involvement in Syria.
That is why I think it is im-portant that I explain why I voted for the government motion.
Every stage of this debate – both in the Commons on Thursday and in the wider public arena – has had the shadow of Tony Blair across it and the ghost of Iraq looking over its shoulder.
The public, understandably, can never trust politicians again as a result of the decision taken a decade ago, based on lies and misinformation, over such important issues.
The wording of the motion I voted in favour of tightened the mission objective to stopping the illegal use of chemical weapons and at the same time requiring parliament to vote again on actual military involvement.
That vote on Thursday was a political warning shot. But I realise that is not the point. What is important to the general public is the overall principal of military excursions that, whilst noble in their objective, may lead to greater suffering and a protracted involvement on a costly and tragic scale.
Yet as an MP, I am required to make a decision based on as much information as I can get (which is quite a lot) and then based on my gut instinct.
There are many technical reasons why we should enforce international treaties. We have the UN but the paradox of the Russian and Chinese veto blocking one avenue of legal humanitarian response means that we have trouble using it.
But at the end of the day it comes down to a simple question of what seems right. That will always be a subjective decision.
When I got home late on Thursday night I watched the news bulletins to see how the vote was being reported.
Amongst the Commons reports was a report from Syria about Assad jet fighters firebombing a school playground with a napalm-type accelerant.
Scores of children had been maimed and a British-born doctor was asking why the world had forsaken them, allowing these tragedies to happen on a daily basis for over two years.
This report came out on the same day that parliament voted take no action to stop these atrocities.
The Americans and French and some others will take action. Britain will have no further involvement.
I am pleased that something will be done and accept fully the decision that parliament has made to abstain from the action.
But should I be asked again if I think we should take action to prevent deliberate persecution of innocents, then I would say yes.
CONTACT YOUR MP
- Email: mark.garnier.mp@ parliament.uk
- Telephone: 020 7219 7198 or 01562 746771.
- Write: 9a Lower Mill Street, Kidderminster, DY11 6UU, or House of Commons, Westminster, London
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