Many people have contacted me regarding the very serious issue of extending airstrikes from Iraq and into Syria. I value the views put to me by all my constituents and I have listened extremely carefully, this is not a decision I have taken lightly.
Being in Westminster I am very fortunate to have access to information and briefings that may not be ordinarily available. I have attended briefings with the PM, Home Secretary and many other heads of departments ensuring that the strategy proposed is as comprehensive as possible and not just focused on military action as is often perceived.
In terms of the wording of the motion I am pleased that the PM included many views and concerns that myself and other MPs fed into him. Reiterating constituents concerns I raised the issue of refugees in last week's debate and I was reassured that a commitment to this was reaffirmed in the motion. I also raised the need for a wide ranging education plan with the Home Secretary to tackle the root cause of terrorist activities in the UK.
Having listened to the entire debate I voted in favour of the motion as I believe that the only way to remove the deadly death cult of ISIL/Daesh which is directly threatening our way of life is to target it at its root in Syria. Many constituents had concerns that the UK would become more of a target if we extended airstrikes, but doing nothing is not an option. Please be under no illusion that we are already a direct and high value target for ISIL/Daesh, 7 attack pods have already been intercepted by our world class security services. I am further reassured that the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and the head MI5 have endorsed these strikes and will, in their view, make the UK safer.
I would also like to reiterate that the UK Government, along with our collation of partners, is committed to finding a diplomatic solution. Demonstrated again in the wording of the motion, the overall plan has been devised in accordance with the UN Charter and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249. It will also work alongside the Vienna talks that continue to seek a ceasefire and political settlement. However, I would like to be clear that military intervention must be a part of this wide ranging solution if we are to counter ISIL/Daesh who have no interest in negotiating with anyone.
Finally, I know many constituents were concerned about civilian losses and having spoken directly to the Secretary of State for Defence I am satisfied that this threat can be diminished thanks to our highly sophisticated technology. Brimstone, the missiles used, are so accurate that a specific room can be targeted whilst leaving the rest of the building standing. We are the only nation with this capability and is an important reason why France is calling on the UK to play our part.
I hope that this response has clarified my position on the matter and reassured you that military action is just one component of a vast programme seeking to find a solution.