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UPDATED: Richard Drax only Dorset MP to vote against government on Syria
11:30am Friday 30th August 2013 in News
South Dorset MP Richard Drax was the only county MP to vote against military action in Syria last night.
Bournemouth MPs Tobias Ellwood and Conor Burns, and Poole and North Dorset MPs Robert Syms and Bob Walter all voted with David Cameron. Annette Brooke abstained as did Chris Chope.
Thirty Tory rebels - also including New Forest MP Julian Lewis - as well as nine Liberal Democrats joined with Labour to reject a motion backing the use of force "if necessary" in response to last week's deadly chemical weapons attack.
Mr Cameron had already been forced to water down his stance - accepting Labour demands that direct UK involvement required a second vote following an investigation by United Nations weapons inspectors.
But the concession fell short of winning over enough coalition MPs, conscious that public opinion is heavily against any intervention and wary of the decade-long controversy over the Iraq war.
Mr Drax said he believed it was not in the UK’s national interest to get involved in Syria.
He said he believed that dropping missiles would only inflame and exacerbate.
He said: “I don’t see what firing missiles into Syria would do. Bombs don’t solve problems. Boots on the ground is possibly the only realistic solution to relieve a situation like Syria. But that isn’t going to happen.”
Mr Drax added that the UN had not finished their current investigation. He said he supported humanitarian support and aid.
After the shock result and to shouts of "resign" from the Labour benches, Mr Cameron told MPs: "I strongly believe in the need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons. But I also believe in respecting the will of this House of Commons.
"It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the Government will act accordingly."
Labour leader Ed Miliband accused Mr Cameron of "cavalier and reckless leadership".
"It was cavalier and reckless leadership that was taking Britain potentially into war without going through the United Nations, without putting the evidence properly before the British Parliament. I think he should learn the lesson from this episode which is what Britain needs is calm and measured leadership, not the kind of leadership he has shown over this issue."
Mr Cameron had conceded to MPs there could be no "100% certainty" about who committed the attack as he appealed for support after recalling parliament from its summer break to discuss the crisis.
But the evidence convinced him "beyond doubt" the regime was responsible, he said, warning the biggest danger to Syria was for the world to "stand back and do nothing", encouraging more attacks.
A Labour amendment calling for action to await more "compelling" evidence was also defeated.
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