Karl McCartney: 'Why I backed David Cameron on Syria.'
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney says Britain has “taken a step to isolation” after MPs voted against military involvement in Syria,
Mr McCartney and Sleaford and North Hykeham colleague Stephen Phillips supported Prime Minister David Cameron's bid to deter Syria's use of chemical weapons but the Government was defeated by 13 votes.
Mr McCartney said: “The use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 21 by the Assad regime killed hundreds of people and inflicted thousands of injuries on Syrian civilians.
“I shared many of my constituents’ fears of being dragged into a long war-like conflict, however, I believed that it was very important to send the message that no one should be able to escape sanction for this kind of atrocity.
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“I therefore supported the Government’s motion, which proposed a humanitarian response from the international community to prevent the further use of these horrific weapons by taking this issue to the United Nations Security Council.
“ I was reassured by the Prime Minister’s statement that a further vote in the House of Commons would have been necessary before any military action was taken.”
“Ed Miliband and the Labour Party demonstrated their narrow political interests by tabling an amendment to a Government motion before it had even been published, despite previously indicating support for international action.
“There was not much difference in the motion that Labour voted positively for, and the one they voted against. As a consequence of yesterday’s votes we now have a result which neither the Government nor the Opposition wanted."
"Our country has taken a step to isolationism and this cannot be in our long-term national interest.”
Gainsborough and Market Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh was one of 30 rebel Tories who opposed a move to take action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.
Sir Edward, who declined to take part in the vote on Thursday, said: "I did not vote for war in Iraq and I will not vote for a war against Syria.
"I think this has been a great two days for Parliament. I think we've won. We made clear we were not prepared to vote for any motion that would have justified war.
"Our job in this Parliament is to look after our own people."
Louth and Horncastle Conservative Sir Peter Tapsell, the Father of the House, registered his vote against any direct intervention in the international crisis.
And Boston and Skegness MP Mark Simmonds - in the Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office –apologised to Mr Cameron after he missed the crucial vote due to a meeting.
Speaking in Parliament after the vote, Mr Cameron said: "It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the Government will act accordingly."
He has since stressed that Britain would continue to take a case to the United Nations and work with the other nations to condemn the Syria crisis.
The USA says it will continue to look at forming a coalition for military action, while Russia, which has close links to Assad, has welcomed the Commons vote result.
At least 355 people are reported to have died in the chemical weapons incident, in the Ghouta area on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, on Wednesday, August 21.