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Steve's statement on military action in Syria

(December 03, 2015)

On Wednesday 2nd December Parliament voted on whether to proceed with air strikes in Syria. Let me be clear, there is no harder decision for an MP to make than whether to send British forces to war and I like many others listened carefully to the arguments on both sides.

As with all important decisions that I take as the MP for Liverpool Walton I canvassed opinion and took full cognisance of the views of my constituents. I received a huge volume of correspondence and a large majority believed that Britain should not take military intervention on this occasion. I attended and listened intently to the debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons and in my opinion the Government failed to make a compelling case for military action in Syria. There were excellent points raised on all sides, but in the end I voted against military action.

I believe the comments by the Prime Minister that anyone voting against military action is a “terrorist sympathiser” to be one on of the most distasteful slurs I have ever heard from a senior politician and he was wrong not to unequivocally apologise immediately to the House. There is no room for this sort of language in modern politics.

There have been, and will continue to be, genuine and honest opinions expressed by all sides on this issue, and those members of the Labour Party that voted differently from me did so because they believed, on balance, that direct intervention against ISIL was the right decision for them to make. I do not agree that they should be the target of vitriol from those that think different and think we should all respect their right to vote with their consciences just as I did.

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