MP: Why I said ‘yes’ to military action in Syria

Chris Drake, from Hebden Bridge, held a vigil against military intervention by the British Government in Syria

Chris Drake, from Hebden Bridge, held a vigil against military intervention by the British Government in Syria

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Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has defended his decision to vote in favour of UK military action in Syria at a crucial debate last week.

MPs were summoned to the House of Commons to vote on possible UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to deter the use of chemical weapons. The vote was lost by the Government.

And despite admitting that the majority of constituents who had contacted him were against any involvement by the British military in the Arab Republic, Mr Whittakersaid he believed something had to be done to help the millions of Syrian refugees.

“The key thing for me is that the Friday before the debate the one millionth child went into a refugee camp.

“There’s now three million people in refugee camps ,” he said.

“For me, if the five most powerful nations on the earth can’t do anything about it then what chance do they have?

“That doesn’t mean to say it has to be military action.

“Although my mail bag had very mixed views, the majority were against any military action, so I had that in my mind when I went down to the debate.

“I was prepared to listen to the views of people talking about Iraq, but in the end I wasn’t prepared to change my vote.”

Mr Whittaker’s decision followed a vigil held by anti-military action protestors in St George’s Square, Hebden Bridge, last week.

Hebden Bridge resident Chris Drake, who was collecting petition signatures on behalf of the Stop The War Coalition during the vigil, said: “I came down to St George’s Square on Wednesday, some people came to join me and I have been here today (Thursday).

“I decided to start this vigil because I was basically really angry and upset that we have forgotten the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we were going to do the same in Syria.

“There’s no moral high ground and we have to learn to do things in a different way.

“The reaction from people has been amazing. We have had hundreds of people sign our petition and nobody thought sending troops to Syria was a good idea. We can’t police the world.”