Redbridge MPs divided over military intervention in Syria ahead of parliamentary vote
PUBLISHED: 12:32 29 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:35 29 August 2013
Redbridge MPs will be voting in principle tonight on whether Britain should take military action in Syria.
Prime minister David Cameron had originally recalled Parliament tonight to approve direct military intervention in the country’s escalating civil war but now there will be a second vote before any action can be taken.
Tonight’s debate is in response to an international outcry over the suspected use of chemical weapons on civilians in Damascus last week.
United Nations weapons inspectors are now in the country and the Labour Party wants to wait for their report before approving any intervention.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes was not available for comment today but argued Britain should take action in an article in the New Statesman.
He wrote that the UK was already “intimately involved” in the conflict through relationships with neighbouring countries and its role in Nato and the UN Security Council.
The Labour MP added: “Intervention is now necessary. The use of chemical weapons must be stopped.
“This does not mean British or western boots on the ground. Nor should we be taking sides in a complicated civil war by providing sophisticated lethal weaponry to elements of the divided Syrian opposition.”
Mr Gapes did not specify what action should be taken but options could include imposing “no fly zones” like in Libya.
Ilford North MP Lee Scott, a Conservative, said he would be voting for the government’s motion tonight but would not say if he would approve intervention in the next vote.
He added: “It would be hypothetical because I don’t know what that report is going to say.
“If chemical weapons have been used, and it does certainly seem that way, it has to be stopped – and that’s for whoever has done it.”
Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer was unavailable for comment but in an email to constituents, he said he was opposed to intervention.
He added: “We are being asked to support some form of indefinite and vague military action in response to an inspectors’ report which is barely finalised and which hardly anyone has seen.
“No evidence has been produced as to who perpetrated the recent gas attack yet it seems we are about to intervene in a civil war without a UN resolution and without a clear basis.”
The Labour MP urged David Cameron to be mindful of “nasty elements on both sides” of the Syrian war.
“He may also remember that it is very easy to get drawn into a war and much harder to get out,” he added.
A special advisor for Iain Duncan Smith said the Chingford and Woodford Green MP would not be making any statements on the situation.
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