Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick quits as shadow minister over Syria vote
PUBLISHED: 21:12 29 August 2013 | UPDATED: 10:45 30 August 2013
Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick has resigned as a shadow minister after saying he would vote against Ed Miliband’s policy on Syria.
The Labour MP quit after telling the Commons he was “opposed to military intervention in Syria, full stop”.
A senior party source said: “Jim Fitzpatrick has tonight handed in his resignation as shadow transport spokesman.”
Mr Fitzpatrick told the Commons today’s debate on Syria that, while Labour’s position was “more honest and open and structured” than the government’s motion approving the principle of military action against Syria, it still endorsed the potential use of force.
He said: “In terms of the Opposition amendment - it’s fair to say it’s more honest and open and structured. But, from my reading, it essentially endorses the same principle - ‘If we can address certain issues, if certain conditions are met, military action can happen’. I don’t believe that it should under any circumstances.”
Mr Fitzpatrick, a minister under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, added: “My objection is not having an exit strategy, not having an end game.
“There have been many contributions during the course of this debate today where colleagues have said ‘If we do this, that will happen. If we don’t do that, that will happen’.
“There’s only one thing which is absolutely guaranteed - nobody knows what’s going to happen if we go down the road of military action. We’ve seen it too often in recent decades. The fact we don’t have an exit strategy creates the difficulty I have.
“In conclusion, I have problems both with the Government motion and the Opposition amendment. I do not believe either is able to achieve the honourable ends that both sides of this House are trying to achieve. I’m opposed to military intervention in Syria, full stop.
“To be honest with myself, and consistent on both questions, I will be voting in the No lobby, against the government motion and against the Opposition amendment.”
MPs were recalled to Parliament for today’s debate on whether there should be British action in Syria following the use of chemical weapons in the country.
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