Newham MPs vote against military intervention in Syria

East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms. - Credit: Archant

Newham’s representatives in the House of Commons voted against military intervention in Syria last night.

West Ham MP Lyn Brown.

West Ham MP Lyn Brown. - Credit: Archant

Stephen Timms, Shadow Employment Minister and MP for East Ham, and Lyn Brown, party whip and MP for West Ham, both Labour, voted in favour of Ed Miliband’s policy not to send armed forces to the war-torn country without definitive evidence to prove who is responsible for chemical weapons attacks in suburban Damascus on August 21.

Mr Timms told the Recorder: “I voted in favour of the Labour amendment and against the Government motion.

“I was appalled by the gassing in Syria, and it seems very likely the Syrian Government was responsible for it.

“I certainly would not rule out military action against the Syrian Government in response.

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“However, I think its important to wait for the evidence from the UN inspectors, and also to be clear – as David Cameron was not on Thursday – about the aims of the action to be undertaken.”

Ms Brown also expressed her distress at seeing the damage caused by the chemical weapons, adding that every person who saw the pictures “can only have been revolted by such a barbaric, abhorrent and inhuman act.”

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She continued: “The Government presented no strategy to improve the situation in Syria, but wanted an in principle decision to bomb and deliver missile strikes, without waiting for evidence of culpability of the Assad regime and without seeking UN agreement. I cannot support that.

“Any action we take has to be legal, proportionate and time-limited, with precise and achievable objectives designed to deter the future use of chemical weapons.

“As previously set out in this newspaper, I believe it was right to intervene when we did in Libya.

“It was clearly right in Sierra Leone and in Kosovo and it is to the shame of the International Community that we did not intervene early enough in Bosnia.

“What we needed to agree last Thursday was a policy to ensure that the better inclinations of this country towards the protection of the weak and vulnerable through political, humanitarian and United Nations intervention can be met. Inaction should not be an option.”

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