Andrea’s position on air strikes in Syria

When last I wrote for the Morley Observer in mid-November, we had just seen the shocking attacks in Paris, carried out in the name of ISIL. In that, I said that we must do whatever we have to to keep people safe. I stand by those remarks and I support the Government’s case for air strikes in Syria.

This isn’t 2003. We are not responding to an isolated incident of terror, or a rogue foreign leader. There is no ‘dodgy dossier’ on which the move to air strikes in Syria is based. We are responding to a real, credible threat and we are doing it in a way that has backing from our global security partners.

The United Nations Security Council has passed Resolution 2249, calling ISIL an “unprecedented threat to international peace and security” and calling on all member states to take “all necessary measures” to prevent terrorist attacks by ISIL. It also calls for measures to “eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria”. 

Our direct neighbour, France, has been attacked multiple times this year alone. Attacks across the world attributed to ISIL show that they are waging a dedicated campaign against Western civilisation. France has invoked Article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty, calling on the 27 other member states to come to its defence. As a fellow member of the European Union and NATO, we have a duty to act and protect not only ourselves but our closest allies. 

Of course, air strikes must only come as part of a wider package of measures to defeat the ISIL threat. The ideology that the group represents must also be soundly defeated to neutralise the threat of radicalisation both in the UK and abroad.  

We must build bridges between communities to ensure that everyone feels they have a sense of belonging. We must seek not to divide, as some on the far-right would have us do by demonising Muslims, refugees, those escaping the very attacks we ourselves are at risk of. 

We must also act on those who live in and seek to enter the UK with these views. In tandem with rigorous checks on those who come in to the UK, we must monitor the activities of those who spread hatred on the streets of Britain and shut them down when they put those around them who may be susceptible to such ideas at risk. 

We cannot, however, defeat ISIL without first degrading and destroying their capability to organise as a militia in the Middle East. ISIL is not going to negotiate, as some have suggested we should do. ISIL’s only goal is to create an Islamic caliphate based on their own warped view of what Islam is and should be. 

We can only show that the values and principles that underpin Western society are far stronger than those of our enemy by seeking to destroy their physical presence in Iraq and in Syria and protecting the civilian population in those countries.

Britain has never stood idly by when under threat. 

We shall not become a bystander now.