Morecambe MP David Morris: Why I voted for military action in Syria

Eurofighter Typhoon jets have taken off from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland
Eurofighter Typhoon jets have taken off from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland

Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris said that “doing nothing was not an option” after voting in favour of airstrikes in Syria against Islamic state fighters.

Mr Morris’ vote reflected the majority vote in Parliament yesterday, December 2, which triggered the launch of RAF Tornadoes into planned attacks in Syria within hours of a decision being made.

Prime Minister David Cameron with Morecambe MP David Morris

Prime Minister David Cameron with Morecambe MP David Morris

Mr Morris said that he believes that the UK has “unique missiles, which are so accurate, innocent civilians in Syria will not be affected”.

Concerns about “collateral damage” have been echoed across the country and in Parliament during yesterday’s vote.

Cat Smith, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said she did not support military action, and voted with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn against air strikes.

She said: “Decisions which will determine whether people live or die are the most serious choices one can ever be asked to make.

“The subsequent years of chaos created the conditions where violent jihadi groups, all but non-existent previously, have become extremely powerful and well-armed.

“The mistakes of Iraq and Libya must not be repeated yet again.

“Having heard David Cameron set out his argument in Parliament last week and studied his written briefing, I am far from satisfied that UK air strikes would help improve the situation either in Syria or enhance our security in the UK.”

But Mr Morris said that after listening to the debate in Parliament, he felt that Mr Corbyn made an extremely weak argument, and was reassured by the Prime Minister’s argument that the government have been called to action by other Nation states and that the Government have a sufficient plan to carry out an effective campaign.

He said: “Before the vote I had not decided how I would cast my vote after the debate.

“A number of factors were important to me, the views of my constituents, whether there was a UN mandate, the motion itself, the arguments placed by the Prime Minister and the opposition’s argument.

“I sat in the chamber and watched the debate and I thought that the Prime Minister made a strong case, with the backing of a UN resolution.

“The leader of the opposition made an extremely weak argument.

“I tried to intervene to ask him that even though no-one wants to go to war does he believe that doing nothing is really a serious option. He would not give way to me in the chamber and I do not believe he answered my concerns in his opening remarks.

“ISIL or Daesh are a real threat to our country, the threat level of terrorism is already at the highest level it can be and doing nothing simply increases the chances of an attack, taking air action over time will decrease that threat, and will let Daesh know that their heinous ideology will not be tolerated.

“I was reassured by the Prime Minister’s argument that the I along with other members would not support our troops on the ground in Syria but I do believe that we have. I am pleased that the Prime Minister confirmed that in Iraq there have been no reported casualties from British airstrikes in the year and three months we have been engaged in combat there.

“Doing nothing is simply not an option in my opinion. We have all seen the terrible scenes coming from the Mediterranean with refugees fleeing the horrors in Syria to come to Europe. Even though the UK is the second highest aid provider to Syria, until the political situation in Syria is addressed the refugee crisis will only escalate. The only way forward is to join a coalition of countries who are taking action to ensure that a newly elected democratic Government of Syria can be achieved. Defeating Daesh is the first step to this process.

“In short Daesh do not recognise the border between Iraq and Syria and in the sense of airstrikes nor should we. I am glad that the House has supported the Prime Minister and that Britain is playing its rightful part in the global force against Daesh supported by the UN resolution.”

The Motion which was agreed in parliament stated:

That this House notes that ISIL poses a direct threat to the United Kingdom; welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249 which determines that ISIL constitutes an ‘unprecedented threat to international peace and security’ and calls on states to take ‘all necessary measures’ to prevent terrorist acts by ISIL and to ‘eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria’; further notes the clear legal basis to defend the UK and our allies in accordance with the UN Charter; notes that military action against ISIL is only one component of a broader strategy to bring peace and stability to Syria; welcomes the renewed impetus behind the Vienna talks on a ceasefire and political settlement; welcomes the Government’s continuing commitment to providing humanitarian support to Syrian refugees; underlines the importance of planning for post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction in Syria; welcomes the Government’s continued determination to cut ISIL’s sources of finance, fighters and weapons; notes the requests from France, the US and regional allies for UK military assistance; acknowledges the importance of seeking to avoid civilian casualties, using the UK’s particular capabilities; notes the Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations; welcomes the Government’s commitment to provide quarterly progress reports to the House; and accordingly supports Her Majesty’s Government in taking military action, specifically airstrikes, exclusively against ISIL in Syria; and offers its wholehearted support to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.