On Wednesday the 2nd of December Parliament voted in favour of the Government’s motion to launch air strikes on Syria with the purpose of fighting the terrorist organisation ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

We asked local MPs for their views 

 

By Kelly Reichel

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove (Labour), has voted for the air strikes. He sent us a statement, which also went out on Facebook soon after the result of the vote.In this statement he justifies backing the Government’s motion with the argument of the urgency of regaining power over the areas controlled by Daesh, to help “reclaim [the Syrians’] land for them and then support them in rebuilding their country”. Military action, in his opinion, was the quickest way to achieve this outcome:

“Many of the people who oppose use of air strikes point to arms sales to the area, funding for Daesh particularly from Saudi Arabia, and bringing Russia and Turkey to the negotiating table rather than acting independently. All of these are so important to the long term stability of the country and region. I came to the conclusion though that even if we could have these things it would not achieve the transformation we need swiftly enough to not only halt Daesh but liberate the Syrian people who suffer their rule.” 

Besides his strong belief that air strikes in Syria would liberate the Syrian people (instead of possibly causing them even more suffering) he also apologised to his supporters about his decision and explained why he acted against the wish of the majority of his voters:

“Because the majority sentiment here on Facebook was opposed I know that many of you feel that I didn’t listen or should have acted on that. All I can say is that I’m sorry if this damages the trust many of you have placed in me.” 

“The only way I could have truly let you down is if my heart told me one thing and I voted differently because I was too scared to take a different view to many of the people here I’ve grown to like so much. The issue being voted on is bigger than that and you deserve better than to have an MP that would put politics before when he believes to be right.”

Interesting standpoint, considering that Kyle’s place in a representative democracy is supposed to be exactly what he thinks it is not: to be a representative of his voters.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and the Green Party, voted against the air strikes. She told us that in her opinion “dropping bombs makes matters worse in the long term”, pointing to lessons we should have learnt from the past and how Western bombing of Syria confirms ISIS’/ISIL’s/Daesh’s narrative, by creating precisely the war of the West against Islam that the terrorist organisation wants. Lucas explains that instead of dropping bombs there need to be alternative measures to create long-term stability and peace in the region. She suggests diplomatic measures, stopping the sale of arms to repressive regimes and a consistent foreign policy. Her rejection of the governmental decision is clear:

I have yet to hear anyone make a convincing case for dropping bombs on Syria or for adding to the misery of the civilian population. Caroline Lucas

Lastly, Simon Kirby, Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, did not feel like getting back to us at all. As a Government whip Kirby voted in line with the Prime Minister’s proposal for air strikes in Syria. On his homepage we can read a short statement in which he explains that attacking the headquarters of ISIS is the best measure to ensure security for British civilians and avoid more terror attacks in the Western world. While he does not mention how the aims of air strikes in the region could be of help to the Syrian people and create peace in the area, at least he lets us know that British military capabilities “minimise civilian casualties”. Well, then there’s nothing to worry about, or is there?