I want to take this opportunity to outline my position on proposed Military action in Syria.
ISIL/Daesh are a truly appalling terrorist group and it is clear that they pose an extremely serious and growing threat, both to the people of Iraq and Syria, and to British citizens at home and abroad.
I agree that we must act to end the threat that ISIL/Daesh pose. Indeed, our police and security services have prevented at least seven different attacks from taking place here in Britain so far this year, and there have been over 150 ISIL-related attacks around the world in 2015.
I believe it is essential that the Prime Minister makes every effort to secure an international agreement on a peace plan to end the civil war in Syria that is providing the vacuum of governance in which ISIL/Daesh thrives. It is important to note that over 90% of all civilian deaths in Syria are attributable to forces controlled by or loyal to President Assad. A report by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee also concluded that there should be a coherent international strategy for ending the civil war and defeating ISIL/Daesh in Syria.
As you may know, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on 20th November calling on countries to 'take all necessary measures' and 'redouble and coordinate their efforts' against ISIL/Daesh. I welcome this resolution, but I believe it must be seen as a first step towards a comprehensive political settlement of the Syrian civil war, which will be essential to defeating the threat from ISIL/Daesh.
The Prime Minister has now set out the Government's case for further action against ISIL/Daesh in Syria and it is anticipated there will be a vote in the next few days
It is important that the Government is clear about the objectives and nature of any intervention, the legal basis for it and, crucially, how it forms part of a wider and more comprehensive plan for ending the civil war in Syria.
I feel it is unfortunate that the media has turned this issue into a party political one or indeed a ‘for or against’ Jeremy Corbyn issue. I believe that the decision on whether we commit British forces to military action is an issue that is too important to be downgraded in this way. The decision is one that MPs should make after carefully considering all of the possible consequences. I know for my part it is the most important decision that I have been asked to consider since being elected in May.
I have considered this matter very carefully and I do not believe that there is justification for military action and consequently as things stand, I will not be supporting any request by the Prime Minister to commit British Forces to military action.
I appreciate that not everyone will agree with me on this, but as the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, I cannot vote on something with good conscience that I do not believe is the right course of action.
I hope that you understand why I have arrived at this decision. If you wish to know more you can email me at Gerald.Jones.MP@Parliament.uk