Syria bombing: How the Fylde Coast MPs voted

Eurofighter Typhoon jets have taken off from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland
Eurofighter Typhoon jets have taken off from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland

Opinions are split among the Fylde coast’s MPs over the decision to bomb Syria.

Following the debate in Parliament, Conservative MPs Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys), Mark Menzies (Fylde) and Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North) voted in favour of air strikes.

But Labour’s Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South) and Cat Smith (Fleetwood and Lancaster) voted against taking military action.

The Government motion was passed by 397 votes to 223 after a 10-hour debate in the House of Commons.

Mr Maynard said: “Bombing ISIS won’t solve every problem, it never does, but it is an important part of bringing peace to Syria, alongside the political process, which will help make us all safer in the long run.

“But I will continue to urge the Prime Minister to continue our humanitarian efforts, and have the safety of all civilians as a priority.”

Mr Wallace warned “ISIS is not a group that wishes to talk or that even sees us as humans”.

He added: “Their beliefs and methods are so against all we stand for that I believe we must take action when and where we can to stop them.

“As your MP I have a duty to deal with issues in the present and in the future. I cannot change the past. ISIS does pose a threat to us here and abroad.”

Mr Menzies said: “ISIL present a clear danger to the UK. They have targeted British holidaymakers in Tunisia and we have learned that seven plots have been foiled this year for terror campaigns on British soil.

“Following the horrific attacks in Paris and with the ongoing atrocities against people in the Middle East which has seen hundreds of thousands killed and led to many more refugees dying as they attempt to flee into Europe, I felt we had to act and voted for air strikes to be extended to ISIL targets in Syria.

“However, military action must not be the only consideration. This must be part of a comprehensive response which includes a parallel political process through the International Syria Support Group. We must also continue our humanitarian effort in Syria and our counter-extremism strategy at home.”

But Mr Marsden and Ms Smith both said they were not satisfied there was enough evidence to prove dropping bombs was the solution.

Mr Marsden said: “David Cameron’s failure to produce a credible strategy for ground support in defeating ISIL in Syria is a key element in my decision.”

He added: “Any action though, while bearing in mind that we are already engaged in bombing missions against ISIL in Iraq, has to be accompanied by a proper coherent humanitarian, political and diplomatic set of activities to drain the swamp of what the UN Resolution passed unanimously called ISIL’s ‘unprecedented threat to international peace and security’.”

Setting out her views ahead of the debate, Ms Smith said: “Stating merely that ‘something must be done’ has led us to overthrow governments in Iraq and Libya with little thought to the consequences.

“The subsequent years of chaos created the conditions where violent jihadi groups, all but non-existent previously, have become extremely powerful and well-armed.

“The mistakes of Iraq and Libya must not be repeated yet again.

“Having heard David Cameron set out his argument in Parliament last week and studied his written briefing, I am far from satisfied that UK air strikes would help improve the situation either in Syria or enhance our security in the UK.”