Syria vote: south Warwickshire MPs explain their choices

Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White and Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright were among the Members of Parliament to vote on a motion that would have enabled the UK to take military action on Syria.

The motion was defeated by 13 votes and Prime Minister David Cameron announced last Friday that he would respect the vote.

While Conservative Mr Wright supported the Prime Minister and voted in favour of the motion, fellow Tory Mr White rebelled. Here the two MPs explain why they made their respective decisions.

CHRIS WHITE: “Like everyone I was deeply shocked by the images that were reported from Syria.

“I abhor the use of chemical weapons and I do not support the Assad regime’s continuing use of violence.

“But I did not believe that the interests of Britain or the Syrian people would be served by military intervention.

“Britain has a role to play in helping all sides to chart a peaceful transition, a role that would not have been made any easier through missile strikes.

“Voting against your party is never easy, particularly when it is in Government. But I have a duty to represent the views of the residents of Warwick and Leamington – who are overwhelmingly against military intervention – and to consider the best interests of the country.

“I believe that I acted in this manner and I hope that we can now look forward to assessing what diplomatic effort Britain can make to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.”

JEREMY WRIGHT: “As a result of the attack [in Damascus] on 21st August, 355 people died and 3,600 people were treated with neurotoxic symptoms.

“As the Prime Minister has argued, the fact that we have not always done the right thing everywhere does not mean that we should not do the right thing anywhere.

“UN weapons inspectors have been engaged in establishing whether chemical weapons have been used and the motion we voted on stated no action should be taken until their report has been considered.

“It is clear that no invasion was contemplated here. Strikes from the air cannot exclude the possibility of civilian casualties.

“Further chemical attacks will certainly result in further civilian casualties - and a Syrian leadership emboldened by no strong response to this atrocity is more likely to do it again.

“There are few countries in the world with the strength to enforce international law and if they do not do it, nobody will. We are one of those countries and we should be proud of that.

“I fear that by excluding that force now, we send a very dangerous signal to Syria and beyond about this county’s resolve to defend international law. That is why I voted as I did.”