The Government has been defeated in the commons as MPs voted against going to war in Syria. The Lib Dems voted with the Tories to defeat Labour’s logical amendment to wait for evidence from the UN before acting. If the Tory whips had supported the amendment then the motion as amended would have been passed, but instead Cameron showed both arrogance and an unwillingness to compromise by ordering the Coalition MPs to vote against the amendment.
A lot has been said about Iraq and leaning from past mistakes, Tony Blair has been criticised again for the way the Country was taken to war without a commons vote. A stark contrast can be made between two aspects of Tony Blair’s legacy; one is the minimum wage, and the other, is that a Prime Minister may never send our armed forces to intervene in another country without a Parliamentary debate. The first was was achieved through triumph, the second through disaster.
Ed Miliband has shown real leadership quality in these past few days. He has proved it possible to shift the debate and set government policy while sitting on the opposition benches. On this occasion, he acted quickly and decisively. He was statesmanlike, in contrast to Cameron and Osborne, who were sniggering and joking while a debating if bombs should be dropped on another country. Gove completely lost the plot after the vote, screeching ‘traitors’ at the rebels.
In the end, MPs have listened to the public. Many will have had hundreds of letters and e-mails from constituents who are understandably not keen for our armed forces to be drawn into another conflict, at a time when the Government are sacking soldiers.
Ed Miliband, the Labour Party, and any Lib Dems and Tories who rebelled, deserve credit for their strength of character. Sometimes what happens in Westminster really does matter.
We have seen images of unimaginable suffering from Syria; the brutal reality is that civilians and children have been deliberately gassed. Now the UK Government must work for a political solution in Syria, and quickly sort humanitarian aid to prevent further suffering.
Thought and prayers remain with the Syrian people.