I would like to thank all the people who contacted me regarding the vote over military intervention in Syria. I looked at all the representations I received before the vote and also took soundings from both local members and constituents over the weekend before to get a good selection of views.
I thought long and hard before taking what is one of the most difficult decisions of my career. As a mother of a serving officer in the Royal Navy, I fully understand the implications and dangers that are associated with any deployment of our Armed Forces. My decision to put our brave Armed Forces, potentially into harm’s way, was not taken lightly.
The RAF were already deployed to the region and engaging ISIL targets in Iraq. The step that the recent vote in the House of Commons now allows for, is to enable RAF aircraft that are already engaging ISIL in Iraq to cross the border into Syria. We were previously in a strategically ludicrous situation where we could not engage this terrorist death cult once they moved across the Iraq-Syria border. This border is not one that is recognised by ISIL and therefore should not be recognised as being outside the RAF’s area of military operations either.
I believe that the arguments in favour of extending military action into Syria are, on balance, incredibly compelling. Nobody I hope, who saw the pictures which came from Paris, cannot be moved by this destruction. 100 years ago we stood with our neighbours in the trenches and have done so since and yes we must stand by France again as I am sure they would stand with us if the situation was reversed. They have asked for our help. Daesh hate us. Hate us to the point that they will lay down their lives to kill as many of us as they can. They will hold us in captivity only to cut our heads off on television. Destroying their infrastructure and capabilities can only assist in reducing their ability to kill us.
It can be noted, that as we send our pilots into harms way, that virtually all sides of the House of Commons had support for action with significant numbers of Labour MPs voting for, the vast majority of Liberal Democrats voting for and the UKIP member voting for.
The action that was proposed by the Prime Minister is legal as it is supported by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249. The action is also a part of a wider coalition of both Western and Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE; so this is more than just western nations interfering with the politics of the Middle East.
Britain is also already doing a massive amount to deliver humanitarian aid in the region. We are supporting diplomatic efforts that lead to an end to violence and process of genuine political transition, and investigations into the grave human rights situation. The UK is also providing over £1.1 billion in response to the humanitarian crisis inside Syria and neighbouring countries.