Thursday, 10 December 2015


Last week Parliament voted to commence air strikes against ISIL in Syria. It was a good debate and those who attended heard some powerful speeches on both sides of the House. 

As an MP I received hundreds of emails from constituents, many of whom were concerned about the consequences of taking military action, both in terms of how it will affect Britain’s security and the risk to civilian lives. 

These are all genuine concerns. However, I have never tried to hide the fact I support military action against ISIL in Syria. The so called Islamic State is an appalling terrorist organisation whose brutality is like something out of the dark ages and includes the beheading of aid workers, throwing gay people off buildings and selling young woman into sexual slavery. Make no mistake this is an evil organisation and the attacks on Paris, Tunisia and Turkey cannot be ignored.  

We have already recognised this and for over a year British forces have been taking action against ISIL in Iraq. However, for all intents and purposes, the border between Iraq and Syria no longer exists and it makes no sense to allow ISIL sanctuary in Syria or even to rely on France and America to do the work for us. 

The legacy of Iraq hangs over Parliament whenever we contemplate taking any form of action in the Middle East and while I agree we must learn the lessons of Iraq, we cannot allow fear of action to paralyse us from doing the right thing. It is very easy to talk ourselves out of action because there is always the possibility that things might go wrong. However, where we can act and make a difference we should. 

The UN had already called upon countries to do their utmost to defeat ISIL, and I believe we need to stand by our allies as part of a coalition to defeat this murderous death-cult, whose destruction is not only vital to our own national security, but also to any peace process in Syria.