Free vote led to bombing

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Some would argue that real Labour opposition to the coalition government was only shown on August30, 2013, when they voted alongside other parties to prevent military action in Syria against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Once the free vote was offered to Labour MP’s, the outcome of the vote on bombing Syria on December 2 was a foregone conclusion.

For the record – in Sheffield Nick Clegg and Angela Smith voted for bombing while Clive Betts, Harry Harpham, Louise Haigh and Paul Blomfield voted against.

Other high-profile South Yorkshire MPs among the 66 from Labour who voted for bombing were Dan Jarvis, Michael Dugher, Kevin Barron and Caroline Flint. Ed Miliband voted against.

Green MP Caroline Lucas MP said: “I have still to see any evidence to suggest that UK bombing Isis targets in Syria is likely to increase our security here in Britain or help bring about a lasting peace in the region.”

She voted against, urging the Government “to wage peace rather than war by pursuing non-military means of bringing about an end to this most intransigent of conflicts.”

Increasing public unease about UK involvement in bombing is based on a strong belief that lessons should be learned from the aftermath of “shock and awe” in Iraq.

David Cameron’s disgraceful branding of those opposing bombing as “terrorist sympathisers” could have galvanised opposition. The House of Commons vote could have been very close with some Tory MPs rebelling. But, with Labour in disarray, it simply never happened.

Rob Cole

Nether Edge and Sharrow Green Party