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Syria military action vote divides Bury MPs
Bury’s two MPs were divided when MPs rejected possible military action against the Syrian Government for their alleged use of chemical weapons against their own people.
Prime Minister David Cameron had called on MPs to back a military response after a chemical weapons attack took place in the outskirts of Damascus, the Syrian capital, on August 21, which is thought to have killed hundreds of people.
Bury North Conservative MP David Nuttall voted for action, but Bury South Labour MP Ivan Lewis did not support any military response.
The Government was defeated in the House of Commons by 285 votes to 272, and Mr Cameron said he would respect the vote and ruled out the prospect of joining the United States in any potential action.
The motion on Syria stated the House of Commons “deplores” the use of chemical weapons by President Bassar Al-Assad’s regime.
It read: “A strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria's chemical weapons.”
Mr Nuttall admitted that he was surprised that the motion was not passed, because it did not specifically authorise military action.
He said: “No doubt as a result of what happened in Iraq whilst Tony Blair was Prime Minister, the public are understandably extremely wary of becoming involved in another Middle East conflict at the present time despite the evidence of the use of chemical weapons.
“I do not envisage the House of Commons being asked to vote again on this matter unless there is a significant change of circumstances and sentiment.”
The Labour Party leadership did not back action, with their leader Ed Miliband saying that lessons from Iraq should be learned, and that the country should not rush to war.
The United Nations has declared the incident as the “great tragedy of this century”, after more than two million Syrians have poured into neighbouring countries as refugees.
Mr Lewis, who is also the Shadow Secretary of State for International Develop-ment, has urged the Government to ensure donors deliver on their funding commitments.
He said: “The international community must not lose sight of the humanitarian needs of refugees and displaced persons inside Syria.
“Pursuing efforts to reach a political settlement to the conflict and to bring an end to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must be the top priority of the upcoming G20.”
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