Skip to main content

Syria: Labour's Amendment (490 MPs were willing to consider military action potentially)

It is worth looking at Labour's Amendment
expresses its revulsion at the killing of hundreds of civilians in Ghutah, Syria on 21 August 2013; believes that this was a moral outrage; recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons; makes clear that the use of chemical weapons is a grave breach of international law; agrees with the UN Secretary General that the UN weapons inspectors must be able to report to the UN Security Council and that the Security Council must live up to its responsibilities to protect civilians; supports steps to provide humanitarian protection to the people of Syria but will only support military action involving UK forces if and when the following conditions have been met that:

(a) the UN weapons inspectors, upon the conclusion of their mission in the Eastern Ghutah, are given the necessary opportunity to make a report to the Security Council on the evidence and their findings, and confirmation by them that chemical weapons have been used in Syria;

(b) compelling evidence is produced that the Syrian regime was responsible for the use of these weapons;

(c) the UN Security Council has considered and voted on this matter in the light of the reports of the weapons inspectors and the evidence submitted;

(d) there is a clear legal basis in international law for taking collective military action to protect the Syrian people on humanitarian grounds;

(e) such action must have regard to the potential consequences in the region, and must therefore be legal, proportionate, time-limited and have precise and achievable objectives designed to deter the future use of prohibited chemical weapons in Syria; and

(f) the Prime Minister reports further to the House on the achievement of these conditions so that the House can vote on UK participation in such action, and that any such vote should relate solely to efforts to deter the use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any wider action in Syria.’.
There is not actually that much difference between Labour's amendment and the government motion. Both consider that there are circumstances in which military action may ensue.
Looking at the Two divisions on public whip

In favour   69       70

Alliance     0        0   
Con          0      239 (+2 tell)
DUP          4        0
Green        0        0
Ind          0        0
Lab        207 (+2)   0
LDem         0       31
PC           3        0
SDLP         0        0
SNP          6        0 
Total:     220 (+2) 270 (+2)
Hence a total of 490 MPs (+4 tellers) voted for a motion that did not rule out military action. Some MPs voted against both motions. Caroline Lucas oddly abstained on the Labour amendment, but voted against the Government Motion. I would have thought she would have voted against military action completely. Naomi Long and Sylvia Hermon, however, voted against both. Oddly enough only 6 Labour MPs voted entirely against the possibility of military action whilst 11 Lib Dems did and 30 Conservatives. (on the assumption that those who voted against the government motion also voted against Labour's amendment). I have not done the detailed work by MP, but would assume that the totals I have used from the summaries imply the details.

The media narrative, however, is different.


Zain said…
Oh I see you have missed the point John and crucially failed to see the material difference between the Government motion and the amendment. This may explain how you voted yesterday.
The motion states axiomatically that Assad has used chemical weapons against his people on 21st August. The amendment states that compelling evidence must be presented that this has occurred and delegates this job to the UN Inspectors. Lets put it this way: if Tony Blair had prefaced his Iraq war motion with such a condition the Iraq War (British involvement at any rate)would not have occurred as Hans Blix did not find any WMD. So you cannot categorise 490 MPs as bellicose.
You might say what if the Inspectors do find the compelling evidence. The answer is that is not the point: Washington (and indeed London before the vote) wants to go ahead and launch the strike and making it conditional on the Inspectors messes up the timetable at best or at worst removes their pretext if the Inspectors report negative.
John Hemming said…
The argument, whatever the details, however, is about process.

My view remains that we should go to the international bodies.

In any event it is quite clear that a majority of MPs are not bellicose per se, but have not ruled out the use of force.

Popular posts from this blog

Statement re false allegations from Esther Baker

Statement by John Hemming
I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever.
I would like to thank Emily Cox, my children, Ayaz Iqbal (my Solicitor), my local lib dem team and many others who supported me through this dreadful experience. There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.
It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped.
I am normally someone who helps other people fight injustice. …

Homelessness vs Selling Books

Candidates in elections tend to find themselves very busy with lots of things to do.  It is, therefore, necessary to prioritise things to ensure that the important things are dealt with.

To me the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping is an important issue.  Therefore, when Birmingham's Faith Leaders group contacted me to ask me what I would propose and whether I would work with them to make things better I was pleased to respond with my views and indicate that I would work with them after the election.

The Faith Leaders Group (Bishops and other religious leaders in Birmingham) have now sent out their report.

Sadly, according to their report,  I was the only candidate for Yardley to respond.  The group in their report said:

"Particularly disappointing was the lack of response from some of those candidates seeking re-election as MP for their respective constituencies."
It is worth looking at the priorities of my opponent.
Interestingly today she has decided to be at th…

Millionaires and politics

The Labour Party spent most of the last election criticising me for being a successful businessman (aka millionaire). That is business in the private sector employing over 250 people. It is worth looking at the situation for the Labour Candidate now:

For the year 2016-7 Annual Income from Parliament74,962Specifically for her book51,250Other media income etc5,322.82Total declared income131,534.82

Traditionally anyone with an annual income of over £100,000 has been considered to be a millionaire. I did not use my position in parliament to increase my income.

I have been asked for sources for this. This BBC piece looks at how one should define rich. It was written in 2011 so the figures will be slightly out of date. There are perhaps 2 relevant pieces:
"In 1880 a rich person would have had £100,000 in assets or an income of £10,000 a year, he says. About a hundred people a year died leaving £100,000 and by 1910 this was 250 - "a microscopic fraction of the number of death…