Torbay MP Adrian Sanders was representing the UK at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in South Africa with other MPs from the Labour and Conservative Parties so was unable to attend the debate on Syria in Parliament, but he has made it clear that he would have voted against military action.
The Devon MP who voted against military action in Syria, includes Totnes’ Sarah Wollaston, and Newton Abbot’s Anne Marie Morris.
Those who were keen for action are Oliver Colvile (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport), Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton), Gary Streeter (South West Devon), and Mel Stride (Central Devon).
Adrian Sanders writes: “A number of local people have raised concerns that we should be wary of intervening with haste and that we should think and consult far more carefully about what our intentions are in any intervention and more importantly what the ramifications of such intervention would be. Although the UK will not take part in immediate action, it is likely that the United States will and that we will debate the issue again in the near future when we have a better idea of the situation.
“To me a few crucial issues need to be considered.
“One is the aim of any action we take; what exactly do we want to achieve if we use military force? Another is how we actually uphold international law. It is clear that there has been a deliberate use of chemical weapons; would it be better to try and respond with force or by trying to apprehend the culprits and bring them to the international courts? We also need to consider the wider ramifications. The responses of Iran, Hezbollah, the various factions within Syria for a start to any action we take.
“The reality seems to be that whatever we do, there will continue to be much pain and suffering in Syria; the question is whether what we do simply adds to this. The next question is what next. I appreciate many will consider that we need to do ‘something’ but until we really know what this is and what it entails, I would urge extreme caution.
“Whatever our view of the UK political repercussions of the vote in Parliament, a major humanitarian challenge remains to be addressed. Our attention should now focus on what we can do to help the human beings affected by the crisis both within Syria and the tens of thousands of refugees pouring out into neighbouring countries every week.
“Parliament should debate what the UK Government and its allies can do to assist Middle Eastern countries to resolve the conflict within Syria and some of the issues contributing to it from outside the country.
“Perhaps the one thing events in Parliament have done is focus public attention more on the crisis within Syria and the humanitarian actions we can take to help resolve it, rather than the military responses that so often lead to more complex and irresolvable consequences in the longer-term.
“These are my thoughts as we enter the next stage of the debate but I am very keen to hear your views so please do let me know by emailing me at email@example.com”