Halifax MP to vote in favour of Syria airstrikes

Holly Lynch
Holly Lynch

Halifax MP Holly Lynch has said she will vote in favour of extending airstrikes against ISIS into Syria.

Up to 50 Labour MPs have been tipped to vote with the Government - including shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn - resulting in the unusual scenario of the two keynote Opposition speeches coming from opposite sides of the debate.

Bombing missions are likely to begin within days if the House delivers what the Prime Minister hopes will be a comfortable majority after Mr Corbyn abandoned attempts to impose his anti-war stance on Labour and allowed his MPs a free vote.

The PM’s weekly question time has been cancelled as the Commons decks are cleared for a 10 hour-plus debate on the case for deploying RAF jets against IS - also known as Isil, Isis and Daesh - in Syria.

Ms Lynch said: “Decisions on military action are the most difficult any Member of Parliament has to make.

“This is especially true in relation to Syria as there are both advantages and disadvantages of military intervention.

“Given the complexities of the conflict I am sceptical about anyone who has an absolute position, either for or against intervention. I have attended numerous briefings delivered by a variety of experts which have helped me to reach, what I believe on balance, is the right decision.

“The starting point which has guided my reasoning, is knowing that every day Daesh look for new and innovative ways to inflict suffering, rape, violence and death on innocent men, women and children, the vast majority of whom are Muslims.

“As a country we have failed to offer any protection to those civilians. Their suffering is undeniable and clear for everyone to see. There is a strong moral case for any intervention which offers protection to those innocent civilians. What needs to be clear is the practical delivery of that intervention.

“I want to be crystal clear that airstrikes are not a substitute for the political and diplomatic efforts that will be required to turn around this conflict. We must continue to work with our international allies, old and new, with a renewed urgency, through the UN and other organisations.

“The Government has acknowledged this and I am pleased to see that we will be working with a coalition of 63 countries and 2 international organisations as part of the Global Coalition to counter Daesh.

“The UN Security Council last month unanimously approved a text relating to Daesh which called on members to “combat by all means this unprecedented threat to international peace and security” which is a powerful statement.

“We are currently involved in interventions in Iraq against Daesh where our actions have both offered protection to civilians, and contributed to degrading and disrupting Daesh activity.

“Because Daesh do not recognise the border between Syria and Iraq, our attempts to protect civilians and limit the advances of Daesh are undermined if we are unable to work across the border. I believe that the Government have made the case for extending interventions across the border into Syria.

“I have received many emails asking me not to make the same mistakes as Iraq and Libya. Whilst lessons can certainly be learned from these conflicts, I am also keen to learn the lessons of Srebrenica and Rwanda where the international community did little to nothing to protect innocent people from atrocities.

“We so often say ‘never again’ when looking back on these horrors and this weighs heavy in my decision making.

“I am also reassured that in learning the lessons of Iraq and Libya, the government has already committed £1 billion in post-conflict reconstruction for Syria, whilst acknowledging that physical reconstruction will need to be accompanied by significant efforts towards social and political rebuilding.

“I believe the necessary conditions for intervention have been met; we have UN approval, a commitment to a diplomatic solution and a clear moral duty to protect civilians. For these reasons, I will be voting in support of airstrikes.”