I voted for military action because I believe the scale of the threat that we face from Daesh is unprecedented. It has already taken the lives of British hostages, and inspired the worst terrorist attack against British people since 7/7, on the beaches of Tunisia. In the last 12 months, our police and security services have disrupted no fewer than seven terrorist plots to attack the UK, every one of which was either linked to or inspired by Daesh. I am in no doubt that it is in our national interest for action to be taken to stop them. Upon request for assistance from the Iraqi Government, British aircraft are delivering the second highest number of airstrikes over Iraq. However stopping it means taking action in Syria too, because Raqqa is its headquarters.
The threat posed by Daesh is further underscored by the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2249. The resolution states that Daesh “constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security” and calls for member states to take “all necessary measures” to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Daesh and, crucially, it says that we should “eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria”.
We cannot defeat Daesh with military action alone. The Prime Minister’s approach is based on the counter-extremism strategy to prevent attacks at home, the diplomatic and political process to work with our allies, humanitarian support and longer-term stabilisation, as well as military action. Britain has so far given over £1.1 billion, surpassed only by the USA, and would contribute at least another £1 billion for post-conflict reconstruction to support a new Syrian Government when they emerge.
Peace is a process, not an event, I agree it cannot be achieved through a military assault on Daesh alone, but the strategy must start with degrading and defeating Daesh. Throughout our history, the United Kingdom has stood up to defend our values and our way of life. We can, and we must, do so again.