This week in Parliament, Redcar MP Anna Turley, urged Britain to commit to action to protect civilians in Aleppo as the East of the city came under assault by Syrian Government forces backed by Russia.Read more
I have spent a lot of time over the last week listening to a wide range of views from many, many people in the local community. I have received hundreds of letters, emails, Facebook messages and comments and tweets, and read them all. The response from constituents who contacted me was about 60/40 against extending action to Syria. This feedback was extremely valuable to me and raised a number of important issues. However, as always messages I receive on all issues are predominantly those with the strongest views. They are often at odds with wider opinion. Also, the public messages have also tended to be more likely to be against action than the private messages I have received. I asked for people's views because they shaped my thinking and raised important questions for me, as did all the conversations and discussions I have had with constituents over the last few days. However a decision of this importance needs much greater consideration than simply judging the view of the loudest voices.
I have read every report and briefing I could get my hands on, and listened carefully to the debate in Parliament. On Monday I sought a private briefing from the Defence Secretary, security services and senior military personnel. In that meeting I directly raised many of the questions and points that people have sent me. This correspondence has given me enormous food for thought, has made me think differently and challenged my views in a way that I wholeheartedly welcome.Read more