MP Healey pledges to vote against Syria bombing

MP JOHN Healey has pledged to vote against air strikes in Syria.

The Wentworth and Dearne MP (pictured) wrote to Cllr Alan Gosling, chair of Wentworth & Dearne Constituency Labour Party, this week spelling out his opposition to bombing targets in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

The Commons are expected to vote on the issue tomorrow, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn having agreed to give his MPs a free vote.

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The shadow housing minister said: “It is apparent that we would add only marginally to the capacity of other nations already carrying out bombing in Syria, and we are already giving intelligence and logistics support to missions over Syria.

“It is also far from clear what good any British airstrikes will do against ISIL without ground forces to capture any territory cleared.

“As the Prime Minister has said, we cannot defeat ISIL simply from the air.

“We may unwittingly strengthen ISIL, whose dreadful power has never been merely its military might, but its ability to raise funds and recruit impressionable young Muslims from around the world, and its ideology which feeds off a corrupted story of a holy war waged by Western countries like ours.

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“UK airstrikes in Syria risk strengthening ISIL’s hand on both of these fronts.

“There remains the serious risk that we will kill - and in any case we will certainly be told by ISIL that we kill – civilians, and hit schools, markets and apartment blocks in our quest to destroy ISIL militants.

“There is also a risk that we may strengthen Assad either by directly weakening ISIL where there are no moderate forces to take its place, or if, as the Prime Minister plans, we divert moderate Syrian militia from fighting Assad to fighting ISIL.

“With these points in mind, my judgement is to vote against airstrikes in Syria if a decision is called for this week.”