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Stuart Andrew MP says we are ignoring deaths of innocent children in Syria
Britain is crossing the road and doing nothing after the deaths of innocent children in Syria, according to Horsforth and Aireborough’s MP Stuart Andrew.
The MP, who voted with the Government last night, said: “We just cannot turn our backs on those children who have lost their lives.”
Mr Andrew said the failure of the motion meant Britain was now doing nothing which he found “quite disturbing.”
He stressed the vote had not been about arming the rebels or getting involved in a civil war.
“This was about getting the international community to stand against someone who had used chemical weapons and broken international law.”
“We either have international law or we don’t – and if we have international law we need to uphold it.”
“Almost one hundred years ago after the First World War the world came together and said never again should we ever use chemical weapons in warfare. It is a question of upholding this – but we have crossed the road and said we don’t want to know.”
Mr Andrew stressed that last night’s vote was about taking the issue further and getting international support – but was not about taking military action.
“I don’t like war, I hate it,” he stressed. “I think we have to lean valuable lessons from the Iraq war and from Afghanistan.
“I don’t want us getting involved in another war like that – but equally I don’t know how we can stand by and watch innocent people being murdered with chemical weapons.”
The MP revealed how a massacre of thousands of people in Bosnia in 1995 had been on his mind in the run up to the Syria vote.
He said: “I have been to Bosnia twice over the last two years and I went to Srebrenica where I met a woman who lost her father, her husband, her brother and all her sons in one day.”
When he apologised for the fact that the international community had stood by and done nothing she had told him it was not his fault, but added: “What I want you to do is remember my story so that nothing like this can happen again.”
“Those words have been haunting me all week,” he said.
Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale MP Philip Davies voted against the Government’s motion on Syria in the House of Commons last night.
He was among the Tory rebels who joined with Labour to inflict a humliating defeat on the Prime Minister who was forced to rule out UK involvement in miltary action against Syria.
Mr Davies said: “Both the Government motion and the Labour amendment seek the support for milatory action in certain circumstances - indeedthe Labour amendment is virtually identical to the Government motion - and so I intend to vote againt both.”
Ilkley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins voted in favour of the Government’s motion on Syria and the use of chemical weapons.
After the vote he said: “The Government motion put before MPs made clear that, before any military action could be considered, UN weapons inspectors should have the opportunity to brief the Security Council, a UN Security Council resolution should be sought and the House of Commons would be asked to vote again.
“Given these safeguards, I had no hesitation in supporting the motion and would do so again. But I must respect the will of Parliament – reflecting the views of the British people – which did not want to see our country becoming involved militarily in Syria.
“However, it cannot be denied that the outcome of this vote was the one that Syrian, Russia and Iran were hoping for.
“5,000 innocent people lost their lives in the Halabja poison gas attack in 1988. One million innocent people died in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Another 8,000 were massacred in the Srebrenica genocide of 1995.
“These horrific incidents remain indelible blots on humanity. And to this list we can now add the chemical attack in Syria which killed and injured hundreds and possibly thousands of people, including many children. There is little doubt that it was carried out by the Assad regime.
“I feel deeply uncomfortable at the prospect of the UK standing idly by and allowing innocent people to suffer when we have the option to help them.
“I sincerely hope that this is not the lasting legacy of how Parliament chose to vote.”
Otley's MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West), who abstained on the Government motion and voted against the Labour amendment, said: "I welcome that the Prime Minister has ruled out the UK getting involved with non UN approved strikes on Syria.
"I made clear I would not support this and would vote against any such decision and also that I believed that a majority of MPs didn't support this either, which has now been demonstrated."I believe that this also is the majority view of the British public.
"Although the Government motion was a reasonable one and did not authorise UK involvement, I made clear that I would not support it and I am pleased that now there will not be a second vote and that the UK will not be getting involved in military action.
"The crucial thing now is that the UN weapons inspectors report and all credible intelligence is presented to the UN Security Council. The international community must come together to discuss an appropriate response to what has been a war crime.
"The focus must now be on the people of Syria and the international community, including the UK, must urge the UN to respond appropriately.
"It is right not to rush into military action but we must not ignore what has happened and must play our part in assisting those who have suffered so terribly."