8:00am Wednesday 4th September 2013
By Chris Warne
STROUD MP Neil Carmichael backed the Government's motion calling for possible military action in Syria because he believed it was necessary for Britain to play its part in upholding international law banning the use of chemical weapons.
The Conservative politician wrote to concerned constituents before Thursday's vote to tell them he would be supporting the motion - which was narrowly defeated by 285 to 272 following opposition from the Labour Party and 39 dissenting Conservative and Lib Dem MPs.
Ahead of the vote in the House of Commons, anti-war protesters gathered in Stroud to object to any British involvement in the conflict, while Labour's parliamentary candidate David Drew expressed opposition to military intervention, saying it would be a 'huge mistake'.
In his letter to constituents, Mr Carmichael said 'we must uphold international law which prohibits the use of chemical weapons'.
But he added that he would only support British participation in military strikes during a second Commons vote if he was satisfied with the evidence collected by UN weapons inspectors.
Before the motion was rejected, Britain had been considering joining a potential US-led military intervention in Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack by government troops on rebel forces two weeks ago.
However, following the vote, prime minister David Cameron was forced to rule out military action.
Speaking to the SNJ the day after the eight-hour Parliamentary debate, Mr Carmichael described the outcome as 'unfortunate' and voiced concern that Britains 'special relationship' with the United States would be affected by the vote.
"The motion was about sending a message that dictators must not be allowed to deploy these weapons with impunity against their own people," he said.
However, protesters at anti-war demonstrations organised by Stroud Against the Cuts on Thursday and Saturday said Western intervention would only exacerbate the conflict, leading to further bloodshed.
Deputy Stroud mayor and veteran peace campaigner John Marjoram said: "Any military attack on Syria will only intensify the current bloody civil war possibly bringing neighbouring states into the conflict."
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