Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson explains why he voted against UK air strikes in Syria

Bill Essterson

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson voted against conducting air strikes in Syria because the Prime Minister "failed to make the case".

Prime Minister David Cameron got the backing for air strikes after 397 MPs voted for the military action.

A total of 223 MPs voted against, including Bill Esterson.

Bill said: "Fundamentally the Prime Minister did not make the case that our air strikes in Syria would help without a coherent ground force.

"The prospects of that ground force led by local commanders and countries in the region being available in the near future appear poor.

"If and when a ceasefire is achieved in Syria between Assad and his enemies then such a ground force might be available.  At that point it would make sense for us to do what we are already doing in Iraq. But not at this stage."

Bill also signed a cross party amendment against bombing Syria.

Bill said: "The amendment which I put my name to had the support of MPs from across the house. It was an attempt to oppose the bombing of Syria.

"ISIS needs to be dealt with, but I still don't think the Prime Minister has put a strong enough case for air strikes.

"What is needed is a comprehensive strategy for dealing with them as part of a wider coalition of forces led by countries in that region and starting with starving them of the money they're getting which is funding their despotic acts of terror.

"We need to see firm plans which will lead to an end to the conflict in Syria so innocent people don't lose their lives and aren't forced to flee their homes in terror and we need a long term strategy for dealing with extremists wherever they operate.

"It comes down to this, will air strikes make things better? Will air strikes make us safer here in the UK? I am afraid that there are more questions than answers and I was a long way from being convinced by the arguments being made. That is why I voted against bombing Syria on Wednesday evening."