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Syria airstrikes: how our South West MPs voted

Jack Lopresti MP, CON, Filton & Bradley Stoke

In voting terms, last night's support for airstrikes over Syria went as expected as far as West Country MPs were concerned. While all the Conservatives voted in favour (none from our region abstained), the two participating Labour members, Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) and Karin Smyth (Bristol South) voted against.

There is a certain irony here in that both now represent parts of the old Bristol South East constituency, represented for over thirty years by Tony Benn, one time chairman of the Stop the War coalition.

Phil Jones, Stop The War Coalition

Last night's speech by his son Hilary, now Labour's shadow foreign secretary, making a powerful case FOR war against the so-called Islamic State, was the highlight of the debate and may have persuaded some waverers to change sides.

On the Conservative side, there were strong speeches by former defence secretary Liam Fox (North Somerset), former defence minister Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire) and James Gray (North Wiltshire, who sits on the Defence Select committee).

The final majority of 174 was greater than expected (one Tory told me "the PM would be delighted with a hundred"), but many MPs expressed doubts and spoke of how difficult the decision had been.

More difficult decisions lie ahead.

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