Syria air strikes: How will Newham MPs vote?

Newham MPs Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms will take part in the vote on air strikes tonight

Newham MPs Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms will take part in the vote on air strikes tonight - Credit: Archant

Lyn Brown has signalled that she will vote against air strikes in Syria in a parliamentary vote this evening, while Stephen Timms remains “undecided” with some signs that he may vote in favour.

West Ham MP Ms Brown took to Twitter this afternoon to state her position ahead of the Commons vote over action in Syria targeting Islamic State fighters, due to take place at about 10pm.

The vote, called by Prime Minister David Cameron, is likely to divide party members with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn extending a free vote to Labour members rather than enforcing a whip to make them vote one way or another.

It comes in the wake of the Paris massacre last month, carried out by Islamic State militants, that resulted in the death of 130 people. France has already begun its bombing campaign.

Said Ms Brown: “I have listened carefully to the PM with regard to air strikes in Syria. I believe his strategy is flawed: I’ll not be supporting them.”

She later praised a speech by Manchester MP Gerald Kaufman, saying: “Effective activity is necessary. These actions won’t be effective. Bombing won’t work. He [Mr Kaufman] speaks for me.”

Mr Timms, MP for East Ham, has refrained from commenting on which way he will vote tonight.

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A member of Mr Timms’ office said the Labour MP was “undecided” and would be using a lengthy debate preceding the vote as an opportunity to hear more on the matter before making a final decision.

On his official website, Mr Timms said: “I shall listen carefully to the debate in parliament today about whether Britain should extend its current operation against ISIL in to Syria.”

However, he does give some signs of leaning towards supporting the call for air strikes.

In the blog post, Mr Timms says Islamic State have “slaughtered indiscriminately in the Middle East, murdered British tourists in Tunisia and carried out barbaric attacks in Paris”, adding: “It is necessary to act if they are to be stopped.”

He also says of British air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq that they “seem to have been effective”, adding: “There are telling arguments in favour of direct UK intervention.”

Mr Timms voted in favour of the war in Iraq back in 2003. Parliament ultimately won approval to invade the country under then Labour prime minister Tony Blair.

Mr Timms was famously stabbed at his constituency surgery in 2010 by a woman who claimed she wanted to get revenge for war on Iraq.