MP says vote against intervention in Syria a 'propaganda victory' for Assad (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Ilford North MP Lee Scott says vote against intervention in Syria a 'propaganda victory' for Assad
Ilford North MP Lee Scott has said he fears that Syria's President Assad has been handed a "propaganda victory" after the Commons voted against military intervention in the country.
Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a shock defeat last night when MPs defeated a government motion calling for British involvement by 285 votes to 272.
The vote was called amid claims that President Assad's forces have used chemical weapons against their own people during the country's brutal civil war.
The motion said the UK "deplored" the alleged use of such weapons and "agrees that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action".
Mr Scott's Conservative colleague Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford, also backed the motion but Ilford South Labour MP Mike Gapes voted against.
Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer was absent from the vote. It is thought he may be abroad.
Speaking to the Guardian following the vote, Mr Scott said he was disappointed with the vote but respected the decision of the majority in the Commons.
He said: "The motion clearly put forward that there would have to be at least one more vote in Parliament and that it would have to be mindful of what the UN inspectors came back with.
"Frankly Labour was playing party politics [last night] and that's the end of it.
"The government has made clear that Britain will not now be involved and I don't know what America is going to do.
"But I feel that President Assad will feel like he's had a propaganda victory.
“It would've have been right for Parliament to have sent a clear message but that didn't happen."
Speaking in the debate, Mr Gapes said he thought both the government's motion and a rival amendment by Labour were "inadequate".
However he backed Labour's amendment in the vote but said it needed to go further.
He said: "We must talk not only about deterrence but about the removal and ultimately the destruction of those chemical weapon stockpiles".
Mr Duncan Smith has been unavailable for comment.
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