December 3, 2015
Burnham's MP votes in favour of Syria air strikes - and tells us why

Burnham-On-Sea's MP James Heappey has explained why he voted in favour of Syrian air strikes during last night's big vote in the House of Commons.

Mr Heappey was among the 397 MPs who voted to authorise UK air strikes against so-called Islamic State in Syria. 223 voted not to proceed.

Mr Heappey spoke during the ten-hour parliamentary debate, and told afterwards: "It has not been an easy decision - in fact it has been one of the hardest days of my professional life which, considering my time in the military, says a lot."

"But the right decision has been taken here in the interests of protecting our national security," he said.

"Our coalition partners are asking us to join them and we need to answer their call - or who knows what will happen in the future."

He told "I have been contacted by 655 people about this vote across the constituency - and I know some will not agree with how I have voted."

"I have heard many different opinions locally, but by and large the view on the street is that voting for action in Syria was the right thing to do. Some will be against, but the vast majority will know it's right."

During the debate, Afghanistan war veteran Mr Heappey said the air strikes would degrade ISIL. He called for indigenous battle groups and said the Kurds and Syrians need to join the allies. He added: "When trying to buy time in a combat zone you need to suppress the enemy, keep their head down and deny them freedom of action of their own."

RAF jets took off on their first bombing raids in Syria within hours of the vote during the early morning today.


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