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Lib Dem MPs will back air strikes on Syria

December 2, 2015 9:34 AM
By Mark Pack

Nick CleggNick Clegg: Lib Dems should help our neighbour

It is interesting to note that in his comments Nick Clegg has highlighted the importance in making up his mind of the fact that France asked for help - as an internationalist and a pro-European, responding to a request for help from a European neighbour naturally follows:

[France] are an incredibly important ally of ours. If that had happened in London and we asked the French, I think we would want the French to try and help us out as one of our closest, nearest neighbours.

Jonathan Calder has written further on this here.

Meanwhile Greg Mulholland explains his support:

I am clear that this is not about "bombing Syria" or even just about dropping a few bombs on ISIS/Daesh targets. I agree that alone would not do much to alter either their position or the civil war. The actual motion we are voting on is not "should we bomb Syria", it is a commitment by the United Kingdom to be part of - and play a full part in - an international a wider diplomatic and military solution, so it is wrong to misrepresent what we are voting on. The actual motion MPs will be voting on is:

"That this House notes that ISIL poses a direct threat to the United Kingdom; welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249 which determines that ISIL constitutes an 'unprecedented threat to international peace and security' and calls on states to take 'all necessary measures' to prevent terrorist acts by ISIL and to 'eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria'; further notes the clear legal basis to defend the UK and our allies in accordance with the UN Charter; notes that military action against ISIL is only one component of a broader strategy to bring peace and stability to Syria; welcomes the renewed impetus behind the Vienna talks on a ceasefire and political settlement; welcomes the Government's continuing commitment to providing humanitarian support to Syrian refugees; underlines the importance of planning for post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction in Syria; welcomes the Government's continued determination to cut ISIL's sources of finance, fighters and weapons; notes the requests from France, the US and regional allies for UK military assistance; acknowledges the importance of seeking to avoid civilian casualties, using the UK's particular capabilities; notes the Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations; welcomes the Government's commitment to provide quarterly progress reports to the House; and accordingly supports Her Majesty's Government in taking military action, specifically airstrikes, exclusively against ISIL in Syria; and offers its wholehearted support to Her Majesty's Armed Forces ."…

Of course I understand the concern and the views of those who say we should not extend our military involvement in Iraq to Syria. However I have heard no realistic alternative strategy of how we take on this monstrous anti-democratic, murderous and grotesquely intolerant, illiberal force. So in the end, I am voting to support concerted action rather than doing nothing, because doing nothing will not stop ISIS/Daesh and stop them we must.