This is the substance of my response to constituents who have contacted me in recent days about the ongoing events in Syria and the response of the British Government. The use of chemical weapons against a civilian population is an abhorrent war crime, however, I am absolutely convinced that any response must be based on verified facts and international law.
Before I would cast my vote on a motion regarding Syria I would want to read the UN report and verify the legalities. This is difficult when the report has not yet been written and the Security Council has not yet deliberated the matter. I would also need to be convinced that this conflict somehow requires intervention in a way that others don't.
I am concerned that the speed with which events are moving is in contrast to the lack of information available to justify military action and the UN mission in Syria must be given the time it needs to produce a comprehensive, factual report backed up by hard evidence.
Voting to send British armed service personnel into battle is one of the most important duties of a Member of Parliament. I would not sanction a course of action that would commit the lives of our British forces unless a compelling and definitive case of war crimes was made which thoroughly justified the case for British involvement. I would also seek the support of my constituents and would do this by urging constituents to contact me with their opinion. At the moment neither criteria has been met.
I will not be casting an uninformed vote in haste and consider that to submit to a whipped vote today would be to do just that. Therefore I will not be voting.