David David MP says that ‘We should get facts right before we act’ on Syria


As reported in the Hull Daily Mail:

“MPs David Davis and Andrew Percy took part in a Tory rebellion that saw the House of Commons reject possible UK military action in Syria.

A Government motion was narrowly defeated by 285-272, thus ruling out British forces joining United States-led missile strikes to deter the use of chemical weapons.

Mr Davis, the MP for Haltemprice and Howden, and Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy both voted against the main Coalition motion, along with 28 other Tory MPs.

The Prime Minister’s call for a military response in Syria followed a suspected chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on August 21, in which hundreds of people are reported to have died.

The UK Government’s motion supported military action in Syria if it was backed up by evidence from United Nations weapons inspectors, who are investigating the attack.

After the vote David Cameron said it was clear Parliament did not want action and promised “the Government (would) act accordingly”.

Speaking before the vote, Mr Davis said that while there had been a “clear moral imperative” in the case of Libya, that “does not stand in the action we are countenancing”.

He said: “There is no doubt that the Assad regime is evil, but that is not our casus belli: our casus belli is the monstrous crime of killing hundreds, perhaps more, of civilians with nerve gas.

“The use of chemical weapons is not the first monstrous crime of this regime: at least 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war, most of whom were civilians.”In moral, as against legal, terms many people will rightly, as they have in this debate, ask: ‘why intervene now?'” Mr Davis also said there had to be “clear evidence” any justification for action was “not confected or constructed”.

He said: “Given where we have been before in this House, we must consider that our intelligence, as it stands, might just be wrong. It was before, and we must test it rigorously.

“It is not a question of panic; it is a question of getting the facts right before we act.

“It is very simple: when we are going to do things that will lead to the death of people, civilians in particular, we should get our facts right first.”

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart also asked for a “clear statement” that in all future cases of military action, “immediate external assault” would not be initiated without “say-so” from the House of Commons.

Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson voted for a Labour amendment that ruled out military action but against the main Government motion.

Hull North MP Diana Johnson and Hull East MP Karl Turner were not present to vote.”