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Essex MPs split over action against Syria
11:43am Friday 30th August 2013 in News
ESSEX MPs have clashed over whether Britain should take action against Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons.
The county’s MPs took part in a debate in Parliament yesterday in response to reports Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime had carried out a chemical weapons attack against his own people.
That put him at odds with other Essex MPs, such asBraintree Tory Brooks Newmark, who said action was “justifiable”.
Mr Baron was allowed to intervene during Prime Minister David Cameron’s opening speech in the Commons debate.
He said: “No matter how clinical the strikes, there is a real risk they would result only in escalating the violence.
“What assurances can the Prime Minister give, therefore, that this will not escalate violence, either within the country or beyond Syria’s borders?”
Mr Cameron told him the action would only be aimed at “degrading and deterring chemical weapons use”.
Mr Baron later asked Ed Miliband if Labour would support action in Syria without a UN resolution.
Mr Miliband said: “It depends on the case that has been set out and the extent to which international support has been developed.”
Mr Baron’s Conservative colleagues are more supportive about taking action. Speaking outside the debate, James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, said: “I’m acutely aware that at the moment the majority of public opinion is to wash our hands of the situation, but I think that’s down in part to confusion.
“I think Members of Parliament should be leading public opinion and changing public opinion on this.
“It is clear the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons a number of times.”
Mr Newmark, who has been to the Turkey-Syria border in recent days, added: “This is both a just war and a justifiable war and I support both the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, who say we can no longer stand by and do nothing.” The House of Commons was packed for the debate, with 99 MPs asking to speak on the issue.
Mr Cameron outlined the case for intervention at the beginning of the debate.
He said: “In the end, there is no 100 per cent certainty about who is responsible. You have to make a judgment.
“There is also no 100 per cent certainty about what path of action might succeed or fail, but I think we can be as certain as possible that when we have a regime that has used chemical weapons on 14 occasions, that is most likely responsible for this large-scale attack, that if nothing is done, it will conclude that it can use these weapons again and again and on a larger scale and with impunity.”
Labour leader Mr Miliband insisted he was not ruling out military intervention in Syria, but said the potential consequences of such action needed to be clear.
The motion did not call for immediate intervention.
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