City MPs voted with Government over Syria

editorial image

The city’s two MPs voted with the Government in Thursday night’s motion on potential military action in Syria.

The motion, calling for a strong humanitarian response which may have included military strikes, was defeated by 272 votes to 285 in the House of Commons.

Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster both insist they are opposed to UK troops being put on the ground in Syria, but also say they don’t know which way they would have voted if a direct question of whether or not to take military action was put to them.

MP for Milton Keynes South, Iain Stewart, said: “I voted with the Government last night on the grounds that the motion before Parliament gave further time for the evidence to be proved that

“Assad had used chemical weapons, made a further attempt to secure a UN resolution and, crucially, gave Parliament another vote before any military strike occurred. I think the Prime Minister deserves credit for giving Parliament the chance to do this.

“If it was proven that Assad had committed a war crime by using chemical weapons and the UN had not acted, I do not yet know how I would have voted in the second Parliamentary vote.

“I have never supported putting UK troops on the ground in Syria or arming the rebels. Before such a vote I would have to judge whether the risks of making a missile strike were greater or less than letting Assad’s use of chemical weapons go unchecked and signalling to him that he can use them with impunity.

“Both options carry significant risks and costs; there are no easy answers.”

Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North, said: “Having served in Afghanistan I am loathed to supporting putting our troops on the ground, but I voted in favour of the motion, which was not a direction question of whether or not to take military action.

“I voted to condemn the use of chemical weapons in Syria. There should have been another vote.

“Iraq has poisoned the well of goodwill in Parliament.”

Andrew Pakes, Labour & Co-operative Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “Like everyone, I have been moved by the horrific images coming out of Syria, but I believe the House of Commons took the right decision. The terrible images of children suffering in Syria cannot be ignored, but we must avoid the mistake of signing a blank cheque for military action or rushing into a possible war.

“I was pleased to see so many Labour and Conservative MPs speak out against the hasty approach being taken by David Cameron. We need to learn the lessons from Iraq and work with the international community to help the Syrian people. Our desire to help stop the suffering in Syria must not lead to rushed or wrong decisions.”