MP’s voted on the United Kingdom’s involvement in an intervention against the Islamic State On Friday (September 26).
Sir Robert Smith, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine was one of 524 Mps who voted in favour of the motion to attack ISIS with airstrikes.
Sir Robert said: “I voted against the war in Iraq in 2003, not only because it was a war on a false prospectus, but also because the proper thought had not been given to the impact on the people of Iraq.
“I voted against attacking Iraq, but that is not the same as voting not to defend it. Now that Iraq’s elected government has called for our help to deal with the consequences of ISIL terrorism I do not think that we can turn our backs.”
Speaking in parliament Prime Minister David Cameron said there was a “strong case” for UK military intervention in Syria, as well as Iraq, to confront Islamic State (IS).
The prime minister said it was in the UK’s interest to join in bombings in Iraq against IS and there was “no legal barrier” to similar action in Syria.
Downing Street has said a small number of troops could be sent to Iraq within hours if the Commons backs action.
However, the prime minister’s official spokesman emphasised the troops would not be in a combat role but would be used to guide air strikes by RAF fighters and, possibly, to train Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces, although this may take place in neighbouring countries.
Mr Cameron told MPs the UK could do more in Syria, where American and Arab allies are engaged in aerial bombardment of IS positions.
The PM said he believed military action there would be lawful on the grounds of intervening to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and protecting neighbouring Iraq from attacks being launched from Syria.
But he acknowledged there was no consensus for such a move among MPs.
Anti-war activists staged an emergency protest outside Downing Street on Thursday evening, after the Prime Minister said the UK is ready to “play its part” in airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq.
Hundreds of protesters lined the pavements outside Downing Street in London to protest potential British air strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq. The demonstrators chanted anti-war slogans and carried banners alongside a small police presence, with Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn making a speech.
Referring to the 2003 Iraq invasion by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, the current PM said “past mistakes” must not be an “excuse” for inaction and that leaders must not be “frozen with fear”.
Chris Nineham an officer of world wide humanitarian pressure group Stop The War Coalition said: “Escalating Western military intervention will do nothing to stop [ISIS] but will create more suffering and further destabilise the region,”
Stop the War estimate that just one Tomahawk cruise missile, costing £850,000, is enough to pay the annual salaries of 28 NHS nurses.
They also estimate that Britain spent between £500 million and £1 billion bombing Libya in 2011 – roughly three times the amount saved by scrapping the disability living allowance.