We’ll vote no to Syrian airstrikes - say three South Yorkshire Labour MPs

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Several South Yorkshire Labour MPs have confirmed they will be voting against extending air strikes to Syria in the House of Commons today.

Prime Minister David Cameron is to stage the vote and a debate on whether to extend UK airstrikes aginst Islamic State targets to Syria.

Labour MPs have been given a free vote although party leader Jeremy Corbyn is opposed.

Sheffield Hillsborough and Brightside MP Harry Harpham, as well as Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh and Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, have confirmed they will vote against the move.

All said they had considered the complex arguments for and against carefully or listened to constituents’ views on the matter.

Mr Harpham said: “I have come to the conclusion that any airstrikes launched by the UK in Syria would not make any appreciable difference to the conflict on the ground, and for this reason I will be voting against extending the bombing campaign.

“It goes without saying that I am appalled by the actions carried out by, or inspired by, Daesh in the name of their poisonous and twisted ideology. Like any right-thinking person, I want to see their brutal regime brought to a swift end.

“Airstrikes alone cannot achieve this.

“As all military experts agree, without a clear plan for ground forces to liberate the territory Daesh controls, bombing will not change the balance of power in Syria, and at present I am not convinced there is any such credible plan available.”

Miss Haigh said she did not believe that Mr Cameron had set out how bombing Syria would bring the political settlement needed to ‘bring peace and stability to the region.’

She added: “Those extremists who launched brutal attacks on Parisians and people across the world recently have chillingly shown their utter disregard for humanity and like everyone I want to see ISIL/Daesh wiped out.”

“But by intervening in Syria we risk being dragged into the wasps’ nests of the civil war where hundreds of factions, regional and international forces are fighting it out, tens of thousands of whom are every bit as dangerous and extremist as ISIL/Daesh themselves.

“Without a political settlement there is a real risk that the shaky alliance which the Prime Minister is relying on to destroy ISIL/Daesh will fracture into one thousand warring factions and risk fuelling further chaos from which some very unsavoury extremist forces could fill the vacuum. That is exactly how ISIL/Deash grew from a fringe extremist group to a fighting force of 30,000 in the first place.

“I will be voting against airstrikes because I do not believe they will make either the UK more safe, nor the region more secure.”

Mr Healey explained his reasoning in a letter to Coun Alan Gosling, chairman of Wentworth and Dearne Constituency Labour Party.

He said the first question was what difference bombing in Syria would make.

He added: “The best case for military action rests on this point. However it is apparent that we would only add marginally to the capacity of other nations already carrying out bombing in Syria and we are already giving intelligence and logistics support to missions over Syria.”

He said it was not clear what good British airstrikes would do against ISIL without ground forces to capture territory cleared and there were also the risks of unwittingly strenghening ISIL, civilian casualties as well as strengthening Assad.

He added: “With these points in mind, my judgement is to vote against airstrikes if a decision is called for this week.”