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MPs split over Syria action
PLANS for possible military intervention in Syria have split Hampshire’s MPs.
They will vote in the House of Commons later today on the action the UK should take following a gas attack in the warstricken country.
And while some of the county’s MPs will support “robust action” against President Assad’s regime, others have warned against intervention in the Middle Eastern nation.
Prime Minister David Cameron and US president Barack Obama have led widespread condemnation of the alleged sarin gas attack near Damascus on August 21, in which hundreds of people are reported to have been killed.
Although the Syrian government has denied any responsibility and blamed the opposition, Mr Cameron is today expected to call on the House of Commons to back a motion calling for “a robust response to deter the use of chemical weapons” which could include military action.
But while the US and the UK weigh up their options, fellow UN Security Council members China and Russia have argued against military action.
Mr Cameron’s move to recall Parliament to debate the issue today has split the country’s MPs, and the political parties themselves, down the middle as some call for action while others say they will vote against any motion for action.
The motion which will be voted on today, says: “A strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria’s chemical weapons.”
It also adds: “a United Nations process must be followed as far as possible to ensure the maximum legitimacy for any such action”.
But any military action would require a further vote in the House of Commons, after Labour said they would oppose the motion unless it insisted on waiting for the report from UN inspectors currently in Syria.
He continued: “I’m not enthusiastic about getting involved in what is a very nasty civil war, but we have got to say that they have crossed a red line and we have got to do something, we have got to show a proportionate response to maintain our credibility, which is very important for maintaining peace elsewhere.
“If we don’t respond proportionally then other places around the world will take a very strong message that they can do what they want.
“I will be supporting a proportionate, lawful but robust response by means of deterring the use of chemical weapons, not for regime change.”
“They were banned nearly 90 years ago and I don’t think someone can use chemical weapons, which are horrible and indiscriminate, without being held to account.
“It’s important that the international community holds Assad to account.”
She said: “I feel very strongly that we have to have a very good reason for taking that form of military action and I want the full support of NATO before any action.
“I think we should heed the lessons of the Iraq war.
“It has to be something that the international community does as a whole, not piecemeal.”
And others are undecided.
Winchester MP and Conservative Steve Brine has said he will “listen intently” to Mr Cameron’s arguments in the House of Commons before making a decision, while Southampton Itchen and Labour MP John Denham, who resigned from the Government in 2003 in protest at the Iraq war, said he was “still considering my position.”
New Forest East MP Julian Lewis, Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery, Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton, Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes and Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead were all unavailable for comment.
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