Sunderland MP: 'Why I had to vote for air strikes in Syria'

Bridget Phillipson
Bridget Phillipson
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Sunderland MP Bridget Phillipson has spoken out after voting in favour of air strikes against Isis in Syria.

The Houghton and Sunderland South MP was one of 66 Labour members of Parliament who went against the views of party leader Jeremy Corbyn and supported the motion to carry out targeted airstrikes in the stricken Middle Eastern nation.

"Daesh (Isis) has committed atrocities across Syria and Iraq against minorities and those fighting against them. Those minorities and many others are at risk from attack and persecution on a daily basis. We cannot stand by and let this continue. As a civilised nation, I believe we have a moral duty to act," she said..

"Deciding whether or not to support military action is one of the toughest decisions a Member of Parliament has to make, and I can assure you one I take seriously.

"I have listened to the views of my constituents both in support of and against airstrikes. I am conscious of my responsibility to act in the best interests of all my constituents on matters designed to protect our safety both at home and abroad."

Ms Phillipson said she was "convinced" of the legal basis for the air strikes, and pointed to the the UN Security Council unanimous passing of Resolution 2249, which she said provides clear legal basis to defend the UK and its allies in accordance with the UN Charter.

"This is a finely balanced judgement and one that involves weighing up the potential consequences of Parliament authorising the extension of military action against Daesh in Syria, but also what could happen if we did not act. Therefore, I believe the right course of action was to vote in favour of extending airstrikes," she said.

"Diplomatic efforts are now underway and important progress was made in Vienna to bring regional and international players together behind a common vision to end the Syrian civil war. The government’s motion makes clear military action against Daesh is only one component of a broader strategy to bring peace and stability to Syria."

"This is a complex and difficult issue but I believe that we have a moral and practical duty to extend the action we are already taking in Iraq to Syria."