Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Julian Huppert MP - Letter To Constituents Regarding War With Syria

Here's the letter Cambridge MP Julian Huppert circulated to his constituents regarding his decision to vote against the UK going to war with Syria.

"Dear constituent, 

I am writing to let you know why I voted against Britain going to war against Syria.

There is no decision that an MP faces that is as profound as whether to take the country to war and, after yesterday’s momentous decision, it is right that I explain to the people of Cambridge why I voted the way I did.

There is no denying that the situation in Syria is absolutely horrific. Civilians are suffering almost daily atrocities. It is one of the worst humanitarian disasters, with around two million refugees. The use of chemical weapons on a civilian population have been terrifying.

But I am not convinced that going in unilaterally and launching a military attack would have been the right approach. It is not for us to act as global police unless there is international agreement.

It was certainly not obvious that bombing Syria would have prevented further use of chemical weapons or made life better for its people.

Our action could have made things considerably worse, especially if we killed civilians ourselves. And there was always the risk that Britain’s involvement could lead to retaliatory action on the ground.

I was pleased that both the government motion and the very similar Labour alternative failed. Both of them started a path that would lead to military intervention without international approval, and both were dangerous. Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband treated the UN as a sideshow, making the same mistake that Tony Blair and Labour made over the Iraq War.

The important thing now is for Britain to put every effort into diplomatic attempts to end the civil war and, in particular, the use of chemical weapons.

Yours sincerely,

Julian Huppert MP

P.S. Before such an important vote, I emailed constituents who had given me their email address to ask their view on what action we should take over Syria. if you would like me to ask you before future important votes, do let me have your email address."

I have asked our local MP here in South Cambridgeshire, Andrew Lansley, why he voted the other way. When he responds (and to be fair to him he has responded to ever single letter I've sent him) I'll post it here (if you'd like to contact him as well then I'd recommend the WriteToThem website.