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airstrikesThe Island’s MP last night (Friday) voted in favour of air strikes to support Iraqi efforts in their fight against the Islamic State (ISIL) in a key vote in the House of Commons. 

He had previously voted against the war in Iraq in 2003 and in August last year voted against British involvement in military action in Syria.

Speaking this morning Andrew Turner said:

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“I voted for this motion with trepidation for the future and a heavy heart.  Nobody wanted to take this action but ISIL is torturing and murdering thousands of innocent people.  Their stated aims include carrying out atrocities on British soil and we have all seen the terrible threat they pose to Western humanitarian workers in the region.

“I believe that Tony Blair’s unwarranted invasion of Iraq a decade ago contributed greatly to the growth of ISIL and other extremist, terrorist groups, and helped radicalise a very small minority of UK born Muslims; this is also a threat on our own doorstep.  As well as military action in Iraq the Prime Minister yesterday outlined some of the steps we are taking in the UK to address the problems – there was recognition that a multi-faceted approach is needed.

“The ISIL thugs are not religious people, Muslims around the world are horrified by the brutality being perpetrated in the name of their peaceful religion.  They are psychopathic zealots who seek to destroy everybody who does not agree with them.  The air strikes are in direct response to a request from Iraq to help in the struggle against this barbaric group, and we are acting as part of a coalition of 60 countries, including 10 Arab states.  I listened carefully to all sides of the debate and came reluctantly to the conclusion that our military forces must play a part. We all want peace in the world and nobody can see into the future, but I hope with all my heart that this is the best way to bring it about.”

Mr Turner also thanked Islanders who had written to him in advance of the vote, saying reading their views had helped a great deal in clarifying his thoughts and coming to a decision on how to vote.

The full text of the motion before the Commons which was passed by 524 votes to 43 against was:

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“That this House condemns the barbaric acts of ISIL against the peoples of Iraq including the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians and Yazidi and the humanitarian crisis this is causing; recognises the clear threat ISIL poses to the territorial integrity of Iraq and the request from the Government of Iraq for military support from the international community and the specific request to the UK Government for such support; further recognises the threat ISIL poses to wider international security and the UK directly through its sponsorship of terrorist attacks and its murder of a British hostage; acknowledges the broad coalition contributing to military support of the Government of Iraq including countries throughout the Middle East; further acknowledges the request of the Government of Iraq for international support to defend itself against the threat ISIL poses to Iraq and its citizens and the clear legal basis that this provides for action in Iraq; notes that this motion does not endorse UK air strikes in Syria as part of this campaign and any proposal to do so would be subject to a separate vote in Parliament; accordingly supports Her Majesty’s Government, working with allies, in supporting the Government of Iraq in protecting civilians and restoring its territorial integrity, including the use of UK air strikes to support Iraqi, including Kurdish, security forces’ efforts against ISIL in Iraq; notes that Her Majesty’s Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations; and offers its wholehearted support to the men and women of Her Majesty’s armed forces..”

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