MPs urge cautious approach to Syria
7:40am Friday 30th August 2013 in News
THE town’s two MPs have urged caution over possible military intervention in Syria as they were recalled to Parliament last night for an urgent debate.
As the civil war in the Arab country raged on, amid claims Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in an attack against rebels earlier this month, MPs staged a debate in Westminster.
But David Cameron admitted ‘there is no 100 per cent certainty about who is responsible’ for the chemical weapons attack in Syria as he made his case in the Commons yesterday for possible future military action.
Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, and Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, have returned early from their summer breaks to travel to London and both backed a united international response to the crisis.
In the Commons, Mr Cameron said initial reports of the use of chemical weapons came from aid agency Medicine Sans Frontieres, which reported that on August 21, three hospitals in the Damascus area received around 3,600 patients with symptoms likely to have been caused by chemical weapons. At least 350 of those people died, he said The Prime Minister added there is not ‘one smoking piece of intelligence’ but insisted he was convinced by the evidence that al-Assad’s regime was responsible.
Meanwhile, Labour called on MPs to vote down the Government’s motion for UN-approved action and approve their amendment calling for ‘compelling evidence’ of who was to blame. The vote was held after the Adver went to print last night.
But Mr Buckland indicated he would back the PM’s toned-down motion, which stopped short of a military commitment.
He said: “I think the Prime Minister has reached a sensible position on this that does not commit us to further action. The UN inspectors are in there now and we should wait to see their evidence.
“The use of chemical weapons is a war crime and a terrible thing and we need to see clear evidence. Where we have crimes against humanity the UN has a responsibility to protect the doctrine and my view is we use every mechanism we can, including the General Assembly which meets next month.
“The motion reflected the note of caution that exists among MPs and reflects that of members of the public as well. We have to tread carefully before getting involved militarily.
“I was against Iraq and I don’t think it would be right to enter into another commitment to Syria and repeat the mistakes of 10 years ago. That conflict has cast a long shadow.”
Mr Tomlinson, in his weekly Adver column, said: “The Prime Minister is right to address the concerns that have been raised by MPs across the House.
“It was too soon to vote on military action, we must allow the UN weapons inspectors to complete their work.
“We are determined that Britain should do the right thing by the Syrian people, but in a measured, legal and appropriate way. Anything less and it would not have the support of MPs or the country as a whole.
“The debate was about sending a clear message to stop the use of chemical weapons – if military action was needed it would rightly need a further Parliamentary debate and vote.”
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