Defence minister welcomes military action in Syria

Mark Lancaster MP for Milton Keynes North
Mark Lancaster MP for Milton Keynes North

Defence minister Mark Lancaster believes the UK had a “duty to act” following a ten-hour debate over launching 
airstrikes in Syria.

The MK North MP, who has served as a bomb disposal officer in Kosovo, Bosnia and Afghanistan, claims the UK has only avoided terror attacks because of the “excellent proactive work” of its security services.

MK Stop the War protest group

MK Stop the War protest group

But following the attack on Paris last month which killed 130 people, Mr Lancaster claims ISIL poses a direct threat to the UK – and has welcomed military action.

Overnight RAF Tornado jets carried out their first air strikes in Syria.

Mr Lancaster said: “Whilst I appreciate some would rather do nothing, I fail to see how doing nothing will contribute to our security.

“I feel strongly that we have now a genuine opportunity to degrade the ability of terrorists to plan attacks the likes of which we saw in Paris and that following the UN Resolution we now have a duty to act.”

Four men were arrested in Luton yesterday on suspicion of being involved in the “commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism”.

Mr Lancaster says that alongside military action, the Prime Minister will work against “poisonous extremist ideology” and provide immediate humanitarian support and longer-term stabilisation.

Protest group, MK Stop The War, held a demonstration against the airstrikes outside the shopping centre on Saturday.

They have called on the public to do everything it can to stop a fourth war in 14 years.

A spokesman said: “Joining the bombing campaign will only escalate a volatile and highly complex situation that already involves many countries and competing interests in the region.

“The US announced it will be sending ground troops to Syria. Will Britain be next?”

> Last night’s vote ended with MPs voting in favour of UK military action by 397 votes to 223.