Redbridge MPs vote on whether to launch air strikes in Syria in Parliament today

Redbridge MPs Mike Gapes and Wes Streeting have different views on whether the UK should launch air

Redbridge MPs Mike Gapes and Wes Streeting have different views on whether the UK should launch air strikes in Syria - Credit: Archant

Members of Parliament are voting today on whether or not to support air strikes in Syria and MPs in the borough are divided on the issue.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting wrote a letter to his constituents last week outlining his arguments on why he believes he should vote against the UK bombing Isis targets in Syria.

Mr Streeting said he was “very likely” to vote against military action but he was keeping “an open mind”.

“I cannot see anything happening in the next days that will make me change my mind about this.

“I listened carefully to the arguments of the Prime Minister and the ones of my colleagues who disagree, and to a range of organisations and security experts and I came to a decision, with which I can still see myself in the mirror.”

He told the Recorder he received a large number of emails from constituents over the weekend, a majority of which were urging him not to support military action.

Mr Streeting welcomed the “free vote”, which will allow Labour MPs to vote following their conscience rather than follow a party line.

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Mr Streeting argued there are some “significant holes” in the Prime Minister’s strategy, as he believes there cannot be British and American troops on the ground but only troops from the local area and that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is still responsible for the majority of deaths in the area.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes is still recovering from an emergency surgery for “chest pains” after he was taken to hospital on Saturday.

There is no proxy vote for MPs debating in the House of Commons and Mr Gapes will not be able to vote unless he is in the Parliament chamber.

A spokesman from his parliamentary office said: “It is unlikely that Mike will be allowed to leave hospital so soon after his operation and so will not be voting.”

Before his operation, the last the Recorder knew was that Mr Gapes was supporting air strikes in Syria.

Woodford Green and Chingford MP Iain Duncan-Smith did not release a personal statement but a Conservative spokeswoman said: “It’s in the national interest to answer the call from our allies, and to work with them because ISIL is a threat to our country and this is the right thing to do to help to keep Britain safe.

“But that is only part of a comprehensive strategy for Syria, which includes finding a political solution to the turmoil; a continuation of our extensive humanitarian efforts; and a clear commitment to post-conflict reconstruction.”

Wanstead and Leyton MP John Cryer was contacted for comment.