Syria: MP warns of 'spectre of third world war'

David Cameron leaves Downing Street after Syria discussions David Cameron recalled Parliament to debate the UK's response to a suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria

If Downing Street is rowing back from taking immediate military action against Syria, the reason is simple.

MPs - many of them from the East Midlands, whether Labour or Conservative - have been voicing deep misgivings.

Start Quote

I'm really pleased the prime minister has listened to the concerns of backbench MPs”

End Quote Andrew Bridgen MP Con. North West Leicestershire

Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen has been blitzing the airwaves urging David Cameron to hold fire.

The North West Leicestershire MP demanded the Commons be recalled before any decision was taken on military action. He secured that and more.

Downing Street has been getting feedback that the parliamentary numbers for a military strike were not adding up.

"The evidence I've had from my constituency is that people don't want British involvement in another Middle East war," he told me.

"I'm really pleased the prime minister has listened to the concerns of backbench MPs.

"There'll be no military action straight away. That will now need a second vote of MPs."

Parliament has reopened to discuss Syria East Midlands MPs say they have concerns over potential military action against Syria

Among East Midlands Labour MPs, there's also disquiet.

Bassetlaw's John Mann says he's yet to meet anyone in his Nottinghamshire constituency who wants British military action against Syria.

Nottingham North's parliamentary constitutionalist Graham Allen said the Commons wouldn't tolerate British involvement in another conflict, without a proper debate and vote.

"The necessity of consulting Parliament still isn't enshrined in law," he said.

Start Quote

There is the spectre of a third world war”

End Quote Chris Williamson MP Labour, Derby North

"It is a matter of some urgency that it should be."

For Derby North's Chris Williamson, he fears a western attack could easily escalate out of control.

"That could drag Russia and Iran into a wider conflict," he told me.

"Syria is so close to the continent of Europe and Israel. There is the spectre of a third world war."

Mr Williamson, a Labour front bencher, said official backing for war by his party's leadership would be considered a resignation issue for him.

He added: "I can't conceive of any circumstances… any…. where it would be appropriate for Britain to be launching a military strike."

I spotted a tweet that brought back a reminder of past conflicts.

The former Labour MP for Loughborough Andy Reed was a parliamentary private secretary during Tony Blair's days in Downing Street.

A committed Christian, he was the first to resign from the New Labour government in protest at the decision to invade Iraq.

"Parallels with 2003 - too many similarities," he tweeted.

Prime Minister Cameron may be getting similar messages from his own backbenchers.

John Hess, Political editor, East Midlands Article written by John Hess John Hess Political editor, East Midlands

Cities warn of need for new powers

East Midlands cities will lose out without new powers, warns leader.

Read full article


This entry is now closed for comments

Be the first to comment


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.