Syria air strikes: Decision for war should not be taken on ‘wave of emotion’

RAF Tornado GR4 as it taxis on the runway at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, after returning to the base from carrying out some of the first British bombing runs over Syria.
RAF Tornado GR4 as it taxis on the runway at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, after returning to the base from carrying out some of the first British bombing runs over Syria.

Three of the four MPs representing Hartlepool Mail readers voted to “oppose” air strikes in Syria.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright voted against the action at the end of a day-long debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Easington MP Grahame Morris.

Easington MP Grahame Morris.

He was joined by fellow MPs for Stockton North Alex Cunningham and Easington Grahame Morris, while Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson voted for air strikes.

Those opposing air strikes in the Middle-Wastern country were outnumbered and military action was authorised and within hours RAF jets were en route to an ISIL-controlled oil field in eastern Syria.

The move has led to split feelings across the country as to whether military air strikes will have a positive effect in the fight against terrorism and Daesh.

It comes as a poll on the Hartlepool Mail’s website found that 65% of those who took part were against the air strikes.

This has been the most difficult decision since being elected to Parliament

Alex Cunningham MP

Mr Wright said: “I am not a pacifist. I believe military intervention is necessary at times.

“First and foremost, I want to eliminate the threat that ISIL poses to Britain and our way of life. But there are several key reasons why I cannot support military intervention on this occasion.

“First, I think more can be done to push for non-military action, particularly in terms of economic sanctions, choking off ISIL’s ability to sell oil and therefore get cash to fund its terrorist activities, as well as pushing for a peaceful solution through negotiations in Vienna.

“My second reason for not supporting military action is my judgment that this is a civil war. Addressing the political vacuum in Syria is a significant part of the solution. The Prime Minister has not been able to provide an exit strategy. How do we extract ourselves from this in a peaceful way? If we don’t learn the lessons of history, we end up repeating them.”

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright

Mr Cunningham also opposed the air strikes. He said it was “the most difficult decision” he had been faced with since being elected.

He said: “I do not believe that increased bombing without a coherent and comprehensive plan for the immediate aftermath and longer term will serve the purpose the Government and others believe it will. For these reasons, I opted to vote a against the resolution to extend bombing at this time.”

Mr Morris said the decision for war should not be taken lightly or “on a wave of emotion” and he had not been convinced by the Prime Minister’s case air strikes would improve the situation,

He added: “Make no mistake, I want to see the defeat of both ISIL/Daesh and Assad, but I cannot support military action which has no clear parameters, achievable aims or credible exit strategy.”