Trio of Labour MPs set to vote against bombing Syria
PUBLISHED: 12:19 01 December 2015 | UPDATED: 15:18 01 December 2015
Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq said she was likely to vote against the package of measures that Prime Minister David Cameron introduced to the Commons last week.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras, wrote in The Guardian yesterday that whilst David Cameron’s proposed military intervention was legal, he believed it was fundamentally “flawed”.
And Hornsey and Wood Green MP, Catherine West, issued a statement yesterday explaining why she too will vote against the proposals.
Sir Keir wrote that whilst he was not a pacifist, he believed airstrikes without effective ground troops were unlikely to make a meaningful contribution to defeating ISIS.
He wrote: “If, through international collaboration, a ground force can be agreed, the situation would be different. But the prime minister’s reliance on what he calls ‘around 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters on the ground who do not belong to extremist groups’ to retake the ground from ISIS is wholly unrealistic. These fighters are from a disparate number of groups with varying motivations and capabilities. They are also, by definition, opposition fighters and it is difficult to see how the UK and its allies could protect them in retaking ground from Isis without getting drawn into conflict with Russia.”
Sir Keir said it was vital for Britain to fully engage with the political talks known as the Vienna Process to try and bring about peace and a stable government in Syria.
Ms Siddiq told BBC Westminster Hour: “We need to look at the lessons of Iraq. Let’s not go into a country, make a mess and leave.
“There is no doubt in my mind that ISIL needs to be defeated and there is a compelling case for that.
“However I don’t feel that air strikes in Syria has been put forward by the Prime Minister in a way that I feel I can support at this very moment.”
Ms West is a member of the Shadow Foreign Office team, working under Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, who is expected to vote in favour of the action.
Ms West is one of the few Labour MPs to have backed Mr Corbyn for leader, and has always urged caution over military action.
She wrote on her blog: “I am grateful to the thousands of local residents who have already contacted me with your thoughts.
“The depth and strength of the feeling this issue has generated locally only reinforces how important this decision is. Overwhelmingly you have told me you’re against air strikes.
“Ultimately, I have made the decision to vote against air strikes in Syria because I do not believe the Prime Minister has set out a strong enough case for how this action will lead to ISIL/Daesh’s defeat or provided assurances that it will not put the British people at greater risk.”
There will be a one-day debate on whether to extend air strikes to Syria on Wednesday, with the Prime Minister expected to receive enough support from his own party and around 50 Labour MPs to carry the motion.