Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Defeats on Syria reflect unease across the country (From This Is Wiltshire)
Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Defeats on Syria reflect unease across the country
12:00pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in Latest News
Two weeks ago, more than a thousand ordinary people in a few blocks of a city suburb began to cough, choke and struggle to breathe.
They filled the city’s medical facilities, shaking, vomiting blood, no doubt consumed with fear at what was happening to them. In the hours that followed, hundreds of Syrian people died from the chemical weapons a rocket attack had unleashed on them.
None of this is in dispute. Whoever launched this attack committed a war crime outlawed by the world nearly 100 years ago.
War is violent and bloody and strewn with pain and death, but even war has rules. Rules that hold humanity back from a descent into barbarism; rules like the international convention on chemical weapons.
Yet such rules protect no one if they are neither obeyed nor enforced, so our Parliament was recalled last week to seek to agree a response. Contrary to much of the national media coverage, whether that should include our own military action was not at stake.
Neither of the motions put before the House of Commons last Thursday sanctioned the use of British military force in Syria, for which a separate debate and vote would have been required later this month.
I voted for the Government’s motion, which urged that in the first instance a formal United Nations process be pursued.
The defeats for both the Labour party’s version of the motion and the Govern-ment’s reflect the unease across the country. This is, of course, at least in part a consequence of the disastrous way Tony Blair as Prime Minister led the country to war in Iraq on what turned out to be a false prospectus.
It is right that democracies should take great care before deciding to go to war, and I hope our debate provides a pause in which other countries can continue to test the evidence of responsibility for the attacks and build a greater international consensus as to how to respond.
The needs of my own constituents are never far from my mind either, and back in Wiltshire, I met the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership and First Great Western to discuss how to make a future TransWilts rail service a success.
My next constituency surgeries are at Melksham Town Hall on Saturday between 10am and 11.30am and at The Pound arts centre in Corsham on Friday, September 20 between 11am and 12.30pm.
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