Published: August 30, 2013
Burnham's MP Tessa Munt explains why she abstained in Syria vote

Burnham-On-Sea's MP Tessa Munt has explained why she decided to abstain in this week's crucial parliamentary vote on Britain taking military action against Syria.

MPs rejected the principle of UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to deter the use of chemical weapons by 285 votes to 272, ruling out the possibility of Britain joining US-led strikes.

Tessa told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "The situation in Syria is desperate, and the suffering of the citizens throughout the civil war has been appalling. The use of chemical weapons is abhorrent, and should it be proven that Assad’s regime was behind their use, he and the others responsible must be punished."

"I do not believe that the Government’s motion met the expectations of MPs or those whom they represent. People are wary, and weary, of the impact of UK’s intervention in other countries over recent years, and in the case of Syria, recalling Parliament for a debate about military action seemed premature, revealed a lack of evidence, the absence of a clear plan, and no real assessment of the risks that such action might provoke in an already unsettled part of the world."

"In my view, the diplomatic channels have not been exhausted and our efforts to find a solution should be concentrated in that area. Clearly, Russia can bring pressure to bear on the Syrian regime, and the many countries within the Arab League need to be encouraged and assisted in their efforts to bring Syria back into line. There are many links and networks - through trade, culture, faith, history - and the UK, Europe and the USA should use their experience and expertise to explore every possible avenue to find a solution. The UK should continue its huge humanitarian efforts in the region."

Tessa added: "I agree with General Lord Dannatt, former head of the British Army, and Lord West, former First Sea Lord, when they urged "caution" and warned of "unintended consequences" of military intervention. Military action, particularly without the full backing of an UN resolution could, in my view, inflame an already tense situation."

"Thursday's vote reflected the views of the electorate. MPs were clear: at this time, the Government does not have a 'blank cheque' to intervene militarily in Syria against the will of the British people."



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