Read Sharon's statement on Syria Air Strikes after a Parliamentary vote on 2nd December 2015.
On Wednesday 2nd December, Parliament spent a considerable amount of time debating the Government’s motion to extend military intervention against the so-called Islamic State/Daesh (IS/Daesh) in Iraq into Syria as a way of degrading this death cult’s regional and global threat.
Over the past week, I have received hundreds of messages from constituents, through social media, email and phoning my office, asking for me to vote against the Government’s proposed air strikes on IS/Daesh.
No one, who has watched the scenes coming out of Iraq and Syria on our TV screens, can fail to be shocked and appalled by the actions of IS/Daesh towards ethnic and religious minorities in the lands that they have brutally overtaken, the women and LGBT people they have persecuted, crucified and beheaded or the Muslims they have silenced, tortured and executed just because they have been brave enough to stand up against IS’s hate-fuelled interpretation of Islam.
The decision to extend military action into Syria has been a hard decision, where both sides of the argument must be weighed carefully. All military action must be contemplated with the full facts, serious discussions and with decisions never to be taken lightly.
That is why I decided to vote against the Government’s motion to bomb IS/Daesh in Syria, as I felt the facts put before us by the Prime Minister were not convincing enough to enter into what is a very complicated situation in Syria.
By the time of the vote, concerns had still not been answered in regards to:
- the lack of an intervention with the full backing of, and led by, the United Nations which would bring together all the world’s powers, including regional powers in the Middle-East, to work towards ending the scourge of IS/Daesh;
- no clear or coherent strategy when it came to post-conflict reconstruction that would allow the millions of Syrian refugees who have fled their homeland in recent years to safely return and rebuild their lives under a free and democratic government, and;
- a lack of a comprehensive strategy that doesn’t focus primarily on bombing but also includes economic sanctions against IS/Daesh and those who collude with them.
It is clear that we should, and must, work towards ending the violence in Syria and the threat that IS/Daesh is to the region and the wider world; however, the military plan put before Parliament by the Prime Minister did not go far enough in addressing the many concerns Members of Parliament and the wider public had before decision could be taken on air strikes in Syria.
Though the Prime Minister has now received the Parliamentary approval to enter into the war in Syria, this does not mean that he can ignore the concerns that people have put forward in the lead up to the vote.
At each stage of military intervention, the Prime Minister must make sure that he considers the concerns of the public as a whole and makes sure that past military mistakes in the region do not go ignored and exacerbate any further the on-going problems we are currently seeing in this turbulent region.