Wednesday, 22 May 2019

MP ‘disappointed’ at Commons Syria vote

HENLEY MP John Howell said he was “disappointed” that Parliament failed to agree a united approach on Syria.

HENLEY MP John Howell said he was “disappointed” that Parliament failed to agree a united approach on Syria.

Prime Minister David Cameron proposed a motion to support the principle of military action if it was backed up by evidence from the United Nations weapons inspectors.

But he was defeated with 285 MPs voting against, including 30 Conservative rebels, and 272 in favour.

After the vote, Mr Cameron said it was clear that Parliament did not want action, adding: “The Government will act accordingly.”

Calls had been growing for intervention since a suspected chemical attack near Damascus on August 21 in which hundreds of people are reported to have died.

The Syrian government has denied that it was responsible and has blamed opposition forces.

Mr Howell, who supported the Government in the vote on Thursday last week, said: “Mr Cameron has probably got a bit of a bloody nose but I think he will live and get through that.

“It was not the decision that he wanted but again I was not asked to vote on should we go to war but the process of the UN. That vote would come, if it comes at all, at a later date.

“The Prime Minister made it very clear that the matter was dead as far as the House of Commons is concerned — he gets it.”

Mr Howell played down the significance of the defeat, saying there was no difference between Mr Cameron’s motion and the amendment put forward by Labour leader Ed Milliband calling for “compelling” evidence that the regime was responsible for chemical attacks.

The amendment was rejected by MPs by 114 votes.

Mr Howell said: “Miliband’s motion was defeated by a huge majority — we shouldn’t forget that — but it was sad that Parliament did not present a united front.”

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