Statement on the Syrian crisis by Jack Dromey MP

The reports from Douma point to an attack having been carried out with chemical weapons, in full contravention of international humanitarian law. The evidence of the deaths and suffering inflicted by the attack, including on young children, is horrific and those responsible must be held to account. The evidence points to the Assad regime.

Having said that, both the Assad regime and Isis have been held responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the past since the start of the Syrian conflict, war crimes which I utterly condemn. It is therefore right that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigates the incident and it is vital that their inspectors now have full access to the site to establish the facts as to what happened.

1143_port2016.jpg

In the here and now, the interventions by the US president, including declaring war by Twitter, are deeply concerning, particularly when the OPCW investigation is ongoing. In Britain, any proposal by the Government to intervene in Syria should have been brought to Parliament to be held to account and for MPs to have their say. The Prime Minister has treated Parliament with contempt. It has become the convention that Parliament is asked to take the final decision on whether or not we commit our Armed Forces. There is no excuse for the Prime Minister failing to recall Parliament before military force was used.

The conflict in Syria has created a humanitarian crisis and at present no strategy has been put forward by the Government that will bring an end to this and avoid more bloodshed. Further airstrikes are at risk of prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people and enflaming the conflict. On this basis, I therefore cannot vote for military intervention.