Syria and the Use of Chemical Weapons — 29 Aug 2013 at 21:41

The majority of MPs rejected a motion moved following the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria that stated a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action. The rejected motion noted: "before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place".

MPs were recalled to the House of Commons from their summer recess to debate the motion.

The text of the motion, moved by the Prime Minister, which was rejected by the majority of MPs was:

  • That this House:
  • Deplores the use of chemical weapons in Syria on 21 August 2013 by the Assad regime, which caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries of Syrian civilians;
  • Recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons under international law;
  • Agrees that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria’s chemical weapons;
  • Notes the failure of the United Nations Security Council over the last two years to take united action in response to the Syrian crisis;
  • Notes that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime under customary law and a crime against humanity, and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action;
  • Notes the wide international support for such a response, including the statement from the Arab League on 27 August which calls on the international community, represented in the United Nations Security Council, to “overcome internal disagreements and take action against those who committed this crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible”;
  • Believes, in spite of the difficulties at the United Nations, that a United Nations process must be followed as far as possible to ensure the maximum legitimacy for any such action;
  • Therefore welcomes the work of the United Nations investigating team currently in Damascus, and, whilst noting that the team’s mandate is to confirm whether chemical weapons were used and not to apportion blame, agrees that the United Nations Secretary General should ensure a briefing to the United Nations Security Council immediately upon the completion of the team’s initial mission;
  • Believes that the United Nations Security Council must have the opportunity immediately to consider that briefing and that every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken, and
  • notes that before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place; and
  • ''Notes that this Resolution relates solely to efforts to alleviate humanitarian suffering by deterring use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any action in Syria with wider objectives.

Following the vote the Prime Minister stated:

  • It is very clear tonight that, while the House has not passed a motion, the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the Government will act accordingly.


Debate in Parliament | Source |

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Alliance1 00100.0%
Con30 239 (+2 tell)189.2%
DUP5 0062.5%
Green1 00100.0%
Independent2 00100.0%
Lab221 (+2 tell) 0086.4%
LDem10 31175.0%
PC3 00100.0%
Respect1 00100.0%
SDLP3 00100.0%
SNP6 00100.0%
Total:283 270286.8%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

David AmessSouthend WestCon (front bench)no
Richard BaconSouth NorfolkCon (front bench)no
Steven BakerWycombeConno
John BaronBasildon and BillericayCon (front bench)no
Andrew BinghamHigh PeakCon (front bench)no
Crispin BluntReigateCon (front bench)no
Fiona BruceCongletonCon (front bench)no
Tracey CrouchChatham and AylesfordCon (front bench)no
David DaviesMonmouthCon (front bench)no
Philip DaviesShipleyCon (front bench)no
David DavisHaltemprice and HowdenConno
Nick de BoisEnfield NorthCon (front bench)no
Richard DraxSouth DorsetCon (front bench)no
Gordon HendersonSittingbourne and SheppeyCon (front bench)no
Philip HolloboneKetteringCon (front bench)no
Adam HollowayGraveshamCon (front bench)no
Phillip LeeBracknellCon (front bench)no
Julian LewisNew Forest EastCon (front bench)no
Jason McCartneyColne ValleyCon (front bench)no
Stephen McPartlandStevenageConno
Nigel MillsAmber ValleyCon (front bench)no
Anne-Marie MorrisNewton AbbotCon (front bench)no
Andrew PercyBrigg and GooleCon (front bench)no
Richard ShepherdAldridge-BrownhillsCon (front bench)no
Peter TapsellLouth and HorncastleCon (front bench)no
Andrew TurnerIsle of WightCon (front bench)no
Martin VickersCleethorpesCon (front bench)no
Charles WalkerBroxbourneCon (front bench)no
Chris WhiteWarwick and LeamingtonCon (front bench)no
Sarah WollastonTotnesCon (front bench)no
Tim LoughtonEast Worthing and ShorehamConboth
Gordon BirtwistleBurnleyLDemno
Michael CrockartEdinburgh WestLDem (front bench)no
Andrew GeorgeSt IvesLDem (front bench)no
Julian HuppertCambridgeLDem (front bench)no
Dan RogersonNorth CornwallLDem (front bench)no
Andrew StunellHazel GroveLDemno
Ian SwalesRedcarLDem (front bench)no
Sarah TeatherBrent CentralLDemno
David WardBradford EastLDem (front bench)no
Roger WilliamsBrecon and RadnorshireLDem (front bench)no
Paul BurstowSutton and CheamLDemboth

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