STAFFORD MP Jeremy Lefroy voted in favour of the Government's motion on Syria - which would have paved the way for military action - during last night's controversial commons debate.
Speaking after the debate, Mr Lefroy said the United Nations must now act decisively over the troubles in the war-torn country.
“Following the votes in the House of Commons last night in which both the Government motion and Labour amendment were defeated, it is clear that there is no majority in the House of Commons for the UK to take military action of any kind – certainly unless there is a very substantial change in the circumstances," said Mr Lefroy.
"I supported the Government’s position of following the United Nations process as far as possible and insisting on a further vote in the House of Commons before any direct military involvement.
"As I have made clear to constituents, I would not have voted for any military action which did not have the full backing of the United Nations and a very broad coalition of active support from countries, especially in the region."
But Mr Lefroy said that should not mean nothing now happened.
"The civil war in Syria has cost more than 100,000 lives and the use of chemical weapons, almost certainly by the Assad regime, has resulted in a very dangerous escalation of the conflict," he said. "The report of a napalm attack on a school in Northern Syria just shows the depths to which the situation has sunk.
“The United Nations – which means the countries of the world, including the UK - must use all the means it can to demand that the use of chemical weapons be halted and to bring the warring parties to the peace talks.”
Below is the complete wording of the motion tabled by the Coalition Government and the Labour Party amendment.
This House -
Deplores the use of chemical weapons in Syria on 21 August 2013 by the Assad regime, which caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries of Syrian civilians;
Recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons under international law;
Agrees that 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 savings lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria’s chemical weapons;
Notes the failure of the United Nations Security Council over the last two years to take united action in response to the Syrian crisis;
Notes that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime under customary law and a crime against humanity – and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action;
Notes the wide international support for such a response, including the statement from the Arab League on 27 August which calls on the international community, represented in the United Nations Security Council, to “overcome internal disagreements and take action against those who committed this crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible”;
Believes, in spite of the difficulties at the United Nations, that a United Nations process must be followed as far as possible to ensure the maximum legitimacy for any such action;
Therefore welcomes the work of the United Nations investigating team currently in Damascus. Whilst noting that the team’s mandate is to confirm whether chemical weapons were used and not to apportion blame, agrees that the United Nations Secretary General should ensure a briefing to the United Nations Security Council immediately upon the completion of the team’s initial mission;
Believes that the United Nations Security Council must have the opportunity immediately to consider that briefing and that every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken. Before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place.
Notes that this motion relates solely to efforts to alleviate humanitarian suffering by deterring use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any action in Syria with wider objectives.
And the full wording of the Labour Party amendment:
This House -
Expresses its revulsion at the killing of hundreds of civilians in Ghutah, Syria on 21 August 2013; believes that this was a moral outrage; recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons; makes clear that the use of chemical weapons is a grave breach of international law; agrees with the UN Secretary General that the UN weapons inspectors must be able to report to the UN Security Council and that the Security Council must live up to its responsibilities to protect civilians; supports steps to provide humanitarian protection to the people of Syria but will only support military action involving UK forces if and when the following conditions have been met:
- The UN weapons inspectors, upon the conclusion of their mission in the Eastern Ghutah, being given the necessary opportunity to make a report to the Security Council on the evidence and their findings, and confirmation by them that chemical weapons have been used in Syria;
- The production of compelling evidence that the Syrian regime was responsible for the use of these weapons;
- The UN Security Council having considered and voted on this matter in the light of the reports of the weapons inspectors and the evidence submitted;
- There being a clear legal basis in international law for taking collective military action to protect the Syrian people on humanitarian grounds;
- That such action must have regard to the potential consequences in the region, and must therefore be legal, proportionate, time-limited and have precise and achievable objectives designed to deter the future use of prohibited chemical weapons in Syria; aan
- That the Prime Minister reports further to the House on the achievement of these conditions so that the House can vote on UK participation in such action.
This House further notes that such action relates solely to efforts to deter the use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any wider action in Syria.