Rupa Huq Explains Why She Voted 'No' To Airstrikes

Ealing MP remains 'sceptical' that military intervention is the answer

 New Ealing MP Pledges To 'Work For All'


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Since it began in 2011, the Syrian Civil War has only become more complicated and more vicious, the ongoing consequences of which have been seen all too clearly in the Mediterranean refugee crisis and the horrific acts of terror in Paris, Beirut and Tunisia.

Those consequences, as well as the terrible suffering of civilians across Syria and Iraq and the cultural devastation they have seen, have understandably fuelled strong arguments for British military intervention.

As I recently said on both BBC News and BBC Daily Politics, this is an incredibly difficult situation where there can be no good outcome. We do need to act but I remain sceptical that targeted airstrikes in Syria are the answer.

There are strongly held opinions on both sides of this argument and I respect those views. However, with a decision of this gravity I needed to be entirely convinced that our involvement would be effective.

The USA, France, Russia, Australia, Canada and others have been actively bombing targets in Syria for some time and yet the war is still ongoing, with arguably Islamic State, ISIL, ISIS or Daesh continuing their vile and repugnant campaign of terror regardless. I cannot see how risking British forces to add to this bombardment will have any greater impact.

Furthermore, any campaign will ultimately involve bombing targets in major cities, such as Raqqa – where citizens have called for the UK Government to abandon its plans. This risks even more civilian casualties and greater loss of life, which may only further fuel this conflict.

We have an opportunity to work towards a political settlement involving Russia and Iran and diplomatic solutions need to be exhausted before we resort to bombing, which by its nature is often indiscriminate and of itself is not enough.

I do not believe that these points, or many of the other concerns I have, were adequately addressed by the Prime Minister or by the plans put forward to MPs. His claims about the number of Free Syrian Army troops, apparently 70,000 awaiting our involvement, have also been cast into doubt and failed to reassure me of the ground support for any bombing campaign.

On these grounds, I voted against the proposed military intervention.

As you will now know, despite my vote against it, the Government’s motion was passed and British forces have already begun bombing targets in Syria. My role now is to hold the Government to account over that decision and I will do so in every way I can.

I hope that this clarifies my position, though please do let me know if you have any questions, and I will make sure to keep you updated of any further developments.

I voted the same way as fellow London Labour MPs Andy Slaughter, Steve Pound and Ruth Cadbury as stated on TV:


December 4, 2015

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