Bolton West MP Julie Hilling announces crucial Syria war vote result
BOLTON MP Julie Hilling says it was a privilege to announce a crucial House of Commons vote on the Syria crisis.
In her role as a Labour Party whip, Ms Hilling was one of four “tellers” who counted the votes following the crunch debate over whether or not Britain should get involved in the civil war.
The debate followed the alleged use of chemical weapons by the regime.
Prime Minister David Cameron had recalled Parliament early from its summer recess, but the government was defeated by 285 votes to 272, after 30 Conservatives and nine Liberal Democrats rebelled and joined Labour to vote against a call for action.
It was the first time Ms Hilling has announced the results of a vote since she was elected Labour MP for Bolton West in 2010, and although her role meant she was not allowed to vote herself — she said the final outcome had her full support.
Bolton North East MP David Crausby did not return from a family holiday for the vote, while Bolton South East’s Yasmin Qureshi was with a Parliamentary delegation in Pakistan.
Describing the mood in the chamber as sombre, Ms Hilling said the invasion of Iraq had weighed on people’s thoughts.
She said: “I think one of the big themes was learning the lessons from Iraq.
“To make sure we have all the facts first.”
She said: “It weighed very heavily on all of us to do the right thing, bearing in mind that people are being killed in Syria. We don’t have the evidence to take action, or the evidence to know that this action could stop the death of innocents.”
In a debate in the House of Lords, Conservative peer Baroness Morris of Bolton — the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Jordan, Kuwait and the Palestinian territories — said there were “no easy answers” to the crisis.
She said: “Since Iraq and Afghanistan, the phrase ‘exit strategy’ has become familiar to us all and we should remember why.
“But the use of chemical weapons by anyone cannot just be ignored.
“So we must be sure that any action, military or otherwise, has clear goals and commands widespread support, especially from the Arab and Muslim world.”
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