Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Military Action on ISIL

This is an email I sent to those constituents whose email addresses I have. Well over a hundred responded, with around 90% leaning towards accepting that UK involvement in air strikes against ISIL may be inevitable. Very few were totally opposed. We all have concerns of course. Unfortunately three responders were so offensive that I must ensure I do not email them again - and that is a pity. It's a few days late but here it is;

Last summer, the House of Commons was recalled following the gassing of innocent civilians by the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad. At the time, I anticipated being asked by the Prime Minister to support a military strike on Damascus. I emailed those constituents I was able to, inviting opinions on what they considered to be the best way forward. Most of the replies reinforced my personal view that the case for military action had not been made. I could not see how it would improve the position. I and many other like-minded Conservatives informed the government of our opinion and the motion finally put to the recalled House of Commons after much negotiation did not sanction a military strike. I considered the final motion to be acceptable and was very disappointed when it was defeated. It felt to me that the UK, a leading NATO country was turning its back on the world, an act that would only encourage those with evil intent. The reality was that the UK and the US did stand back, and have allowed events in the Middle East to play out as they have done. The current position is far more worrying than it was last year.

This email once again shares with you the decision I may face in the near future. It's rumoured that there may be a sudden recall of Parliament this week or next to consider becoming involved in air strikes against ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. At this stage, we do not know what military action would be involved. However I would expect it to involve air strikes against ISIL, though perhaps not in Syria and not involving troops on the ground. This, of course, may change.

This time, I am personally more inclined to support military involvement. The scale of ISIL's advance, its incredible brutality, its mass killings and beheadings, and threat it poses to us here in the UK seem to me to be increasingly serious. At this stage I feel we cannot continue to turn our backs on what is happening. It is important that I keep in touch with my constituents’ views on such an emotive and controversial issue. Entering military conflict is an extremely serious matter, full of uncertainty, and it seems right that I should invite my constituents to share any thoughts they have on the matter.

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