Tim’s best bits #2: That Syria vote

In December 2015, the House of Commons voted on whether to carry out airstrikes in Syria. Had I been a Liberal Democrat MP, I’d have voted against. However, Tim led 75% of ours through the voting lobbies in support of the Government’s plans.

I wrote about my mixed feelings at the time:

Yesterday, though, I could totally understand and empathise with our leader’s stance, driven as it was by the best of liberal, humanitarian and internationalist motivations. He made an absolute cracker of a speech, delivered with passion and confidence

I was glad, however, that my views were represented in the division lobbies by two of our MPs, Norman Lamb and Mark Williams. It’s a great credit to our party that we were able to debate this in a very serious manner and without rancour or recrimination.

Tim could have given himself an easy life and led our MPs to vote against, but that’s not who he is. He made his decision knowing that there was considerable opposition amongst activists at least. He showed courage and principle. I hope that whatever our views, we can all be very proud of him for that.

Here, courtesy of the Guardian, is an extract from Tim’s speech:

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Eddie Sammon 19th Jul '17 - 10:23am

    I think this was a selfless move by Tim. However it seems civilian casualties, at least by other forces on our side, have been higher than we expected or were led to believe.

    We need to have a proper debate about military action, most people will agree that it’s sometimes justified, so we need to discuss when. I don’t agree that you need a peace plan before a military plan because sometimes there is an urgency to defend people and delays can cost lives, such as with genocide.

  • I do not see how abandoning the “just war” legacy of Charles Kennedy could possibly count as a “best bit”.

  • John Mitchell 19th Jul '17 - 5:41pm

    It’s not something I agreed with at the time and I haven’t changed my mind. It’s one of the times I did disagree with Tim, but MPs were allowed to vote freely. Recent history suggests bombing runs are not successful – just look at Libya. To defeat ISIS it will require real action against regimes that are funding Islamic extremism and terrorism. The Tories are indifferent to this and if Labour was still headed by someone like Blair they would be too.

    I think Jeremy Corbyn has been out ahead in thinking on this (clamping down diplomatically and financially on ISIS), although I do not take the position that ISIS can be negotiated with. The lessons have not been learned from Iraq – there needs to be a plan. What does the country look like in the aftermath? That is not thought about often enough. Sometimes taking military action only makes matters worse.

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