I was disappointed that Craig Whittaker followed his Party’s lead and not – as even he admits, the views of his constituents – in voting in favour of military action in Syria.
Had I been in his position, I would have opposed the motion, along with 30 of Craig Whittaker’s Conservative colleagues, a handful of Liberal Democrats and all Labour Party MPs, just as I would have voted against the Iraq war 10 years ago.
I agree with Mr Whittaker that the Syrian refugee crisis is a tragedy and I agree with the coalition of charities, including Oxfam, who argue that there is a need for further talks and greater involvement of the United Nations.
No one should be under any doubt that the use of chemical weapons is deeply evil and to be utterly condemned. But David Cameron was asking parliament to sign a blank cheque for him to go to war before any substantive proof of who carried out the attack has been produced, and without being able to give any indication of what our military objectives would be or how the involvement of British forces could improve the situation.
The Prime Minister’s gung-ho rush to go to war was reckless and demonstrated a failure to learn the lessons of Iraq. It also suggested a lack of careful consideration of the implications of British forces becoming embroiled in a bloody civil war, not to mention doing so without consulting the United Nations.
I believe that parliament spoke for the majority of the British population when it rejected Mr Cameron’s proposal to back military action “in principle”. And if I had been in Mr Whittaker’s position, I would have listened to the views of my constituents and represented them accordingly.
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Calder Valley.