Burnham-On-Sea’s MP has this week spoken out in favour of military action in Syria to halt gas attacks.
James Heappey, who served in The Rifles on two operational tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland, says that military action is justified.
“We have the ability to strike the Assad regime with highly sophisticated weaponry and in doing so, we have the ability to stop these chemical attacks,” he says.
His comments come as ministers agreed on Thursday that it was “highly likely” the Assad regime was responsible for a suspected chemical attack last weekend and they agreed that the use of chemical weapons must not “go unchallenged”.
Dozens of people were reportedly killed, including children, during the alleged toxic bombing.
James Heappey, Burnham-On-Sea’s MP, outlined his position on Thursday: “This week the world has been shocked and appalled by the pictures emerging from Syria of children killed in the latest attack using chemical weapons.”
“The images of those who survived are no better – soaking wet from where they’ve had the chemical agent hosed urgently from their bodies, their eyes full of terror and resignation that this is the life that they now lead.”
“Four years ago, Parliament had the opportunity to do something about this. The same sort of pictures reached our TV screens, those same eyes desperate for help looked out at us, and yet Parliament turned its back on those images and chose not to intervene.”
“We have become paralysed by our experience in Iraq. Passionate supporters of our Armed Forces but incapable of using them even when the case for using military force is compelling.”
The MP added: “We have the ability to strike the Assad regime with highly sophisticated weaponry and in doing so, we have the ability to stop these chemical attacks.”
“A UN resolution will always make these things easier in the court of public opinion but this week Russia has, again, vetoed a Security Council move to censure the Assad regime.”
“Surely we can see what Putin is doing? There will never be a Security Council resolution because Russian interests are best served by Assad staying exactly where he is.”
“I have seen friends and colleagues killed or suffer life-changing injuries whilst doing their duty for our great country. Nobody who has seen what I have seen, would seek to put our pilots, troops and sailors in harm’s way for no reason.”
“But we maintain such a sophisticated military so that we can protect British interests in the world and so that we can do what is right. Right now, the right thing to do is to come to the aid of the children being gassed whilst we’re sat gazing at our navels.”