Suffolk and Essex: MPs weigh up how they will vote on Syria

MP Tim Yeo

MP Tim Yeo - Credit: PA

A Suffolk MP said he believed parliament would be mindful of the war in Iraq as it weighed up whether to take action in Syria - but he would not rule out military action.

Tim Yeo, MP for South Suffolk, said the arguments for intervention must be “credible and achievable” as the government prepares to debate and vote tomorrow.

Parliament has been recalled amid the continuing crisis in Syria and the possibility of using military action after reports chemical weapons had been used by President Bashar al-Assad’s reigme.

Mr Yeo said: “I share the general sense of outrage about the use of chemical weapons that cannot be justified under any circumstances. But I also want to be satisfied that any action proposed has a clear and achievable aim and is lawful.

“We are all mindful that we went into Iraq on the basis of information that did not turn out to be true and without a plan as to what to do once Saddam was overthrown.

“We need to make sure we have that.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “There is a civil war which is spilling over the borders in one of the most volatile regions in the world and it is on Europe’s doorstep.

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“The regime has probably used chemical weapons on its own people. If it is willing to do that, it has the ability and motivation to strike its neighbours.

“We have to make sure - without getting into a prolonged conflict - that we do what we can to ensure security in the region and if possible to protect the lives of civilians.”

He: “I think you cannot just give a yes or no to this. We have to understand as much as possible about what is going on, hear from the UN about what they believe is happening and if they believe that some sort of military action from a stand off position might help the situation, then we need to consider it seriously.”

He said it was the right thing to recall parliament.

“Parliament must be consulted on this serious issue.”

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell, who serves on the Defence Select Committee, called for parliament to be consulted and urged caution.

He said: “I have been following closely what my party’s foreign affairs spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell is saying. He brings great experience and wisdom to the debate. The Ggvernment should listen to his wise words of caution.”

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey added: “There continues to be very distressing images coming out of Syria and Parliament has been recalled this week to discuss the British Government’s response. The UK is considering military options following last week’s use of chemical weapons and I would like to hear from constituents with their thoughts on this issue.”

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