Airstrikes against ISIL in Syria

 In Croydon, News, Parliament

I asked the 7,000 Croydon North residents on my email database for their views on the Government’s plans to join international action against ISIL in Syria.  I’m grateful to the 700 who responded and the many thoughtful opinions I received which have influenced my thinking.  The result was inconclusive with no clear majority one way or the other, but many people made the point that any airstrikes in Syria must be part of a wider political and military strategy if they are to achieve the Government’s aims.

The security of people here in the UK must be the Government’s top priority.  ISIL have already made several attempts to launch attacks against British people at home and abroad.  The only way to eliminate this threat is to defeat ISIL completely.   Targeted airstrikes are undoubtedly a part of that.  However, airstrikes will fail to defeat ISIL if they are not supported by action to cut off ISIL’s funding and supply lines, and they need to be supported by properly armed and led ground troops from countries in the region.  Neither option of voting for or against the Government motion reflected that view.  Since I could not vote against airstrikes which may be necessary but could also not vote for an incomplete strategy, I denied the Government my support by abstaining.

Steve Reed
MP for Croydon North