Military action in Syria: what are MPs saying?
Politicians divided on whether intervention will prevent future chemical attacks or lead to 'absolute disaster'
PARLIAMENT will debate military intervention in Syria today but many MPs have already made their views known. The Commons motion states that a final vote on action should be held only after UN inspectors report on the alleged chemical attack outside Damascus last week that is believed to have killed more than 1,300 people. Opinion is divided over the crisis and, according to The Guardian, up to 70 Conservative MPs have yet to be persuaded by the Coalition's case for military action. Here's what politicians have been saying so far.
David Cameron: The prime minister has said a military response is "not about getting involved in a Middle Eastern war". He said: "It's about chemical weapons. Their use is wrong and the world should not stand idly by."
Nick Clegg: The deputy prime minister also appears to back military action, warning: "It is much more likely that Assad will use chemical weapons more frequently, in a more widespread way, if nothing happens."
Ed Miliband: The Labour leader has made clear he will not back the government until he sees the report from the UN weapons inspectors. "Parliament must agree criteria for action," he tweeted, "not write a blank cheque."
Diane Abbott: The Labour MP for Hackney North has said: "At the moment, I can't see anything that would make me vote for intervention in Syria." Asked if she would resign from the front bench if Labour supported military action, she said: "It would put me in a very difficult position."
Mike Gapes: The Labour MP for Ilford South is, however, keen to intervene. "There must be a robust international response to the use of internationally banned chemical weapons and the threat of their proliferation throughout the region," he said.
Robert Halfon: The Conservative MP for Harlow agrees. "You may have heard those two words: 'never again'. They are usually repeated after every notorious act of genocide: after the Holocaust, after Halabja, after Bosnia, after Rwanda ... if we can act to stop genocide and chemical attacks we should. Never again."
Cheryl Gillan: "What will be the unintended consequences? What will be the diplomatic consequences?" asked the Tory MP for Chesham and Amersham. "What will be the fallout as far as other countries are concerned? I'm worried we are embarking on a line which could lead to absolute disaster."
Adam Holloway: The Conservative MP for Gravesham, a former officer in the Grenadier Guards, is not convinced that "in 20 years time some other tyrant thinking of using chemical weapons will turn around and say to him or herself, 'Whoops, better not do that: remember what Obama, Cameron and Hollande did back in the summer of 2013'."
Harriet Harman: Labour's deputy leader appears to be waiting to see what her constituents think. She has tweeted: "Calling residents of Camberwell and Peckham ... would appreciate email of your thoughts on the terrible situation in Syria."
Tom Harris: The Labour MP for Glasgow South revealed his indecision in a frank piece in the Daily Telegraph. "When your dreams involve walking along the High Street naked, it's supposed to represent a subconscious fear of being found out," he wrote. "I occasionally have that dream. And my fear of exposure is never more stark than when, as is happening today, I'm expected to express an opinion, one way or the other, in the voting lobbies of the House of Commons, on a subject of bewildering complexity." ·