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MPs explain Syria intervention vote
NORTH Yorkshire MPs have said military action against Syria’s leaders would have been the wrong move after the Government suffered a shock Commons defeat over the UK’s involvement in the crisis.
MPs last week rejected a motion on the principle of military action being used to protect Syrian civilians.
York Central MP Hugh Bayley said he asked Prime Minister Mr Cameron for an assurance military action would shorten Syria’s civil war during the Commons debate, which had not been given.
Mr Bayley said: “Nobody who saw the pictures of the people in Syria could fail to be moved – it is an appalling situation and calls for a humanitarian response.
“I believe very strongly that we and the rest of the world have a duty to protect people facing oppression, but it would be wrong to commit to military action without having a definite plan.
“We have to know what we are trying to achieve before committing our servicemen and women to war – we could easily make a bad situation even worse and the Government did not convince me intervention at this stage would do more good than harm.”
York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said recent events in Syria were a “humanitarian catastrophe” but “unanswered questions” surrounded a military response. He said he supported Mr Cameron’s motion as it called for more time for UN investigations and a UN Security Council resolution, but said: “I would have categorically voted against military intervention if that was what the motion stated.”
The MPs were speaking before US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday asserted the United States now had evidence of sarin gas use in Syria and said the “case was building” for a military attack.
A day after President Barack Obama stepped back from his threat to launch an attack, Mr Kerry said in a series of interviews that the administration learned of the sarin use through samples of hair and blood provided to Washington by first responders in Damascus.
Mr Kerry also said he was confident Congress will give Obama its backing for a military strike against Syria.
But the former senator also said the president has authority to act on his own if Congress does not give its approval.
Congress is scheduled to return from its summer break next Monday.
Despite Mr Kerry’s claims, Mr Cameron will not make a renewed attempt to persuade MPs to support military action against Syria even in the face of a wave of fresh chemical weapons attacks or new evidence, the Chancellor, George Osborne, indicated yesterday.
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