Open Letter to Harriet Harman on Syria

I’ve written the following letter to Harriet Harman regarding her decision to vote in support of bombing Syria. If you’re a Labour member in Camberwell and Peckham and agree with this, please sign by putting your name in the comments. Thanks.

Dear Harriet,

As Labour Party members in Camberwell and Peckham we were extremely disappointed to see that you had decided to join the Conservatives in voting in support of air strikes on Syria.

We note that your vote was in defiance of the resolution agreed at Conference, which stipulated four conditions for bombing to be supported, we believe none of these have been met. UN Resolution 2249 does not provide the required “clear and unambiguous” authorisation. Moreover, there have been no serious steps to address the second demand that “a comprehensive European Union-wide plan is in place to provide humanitarian assistance to the increased number of refugees that even more widespread bombing can be expected to lead to.” We also believe that bombing is likely to hinder rather than help any possible diplomatic efforts to bring the conflict to an end.

The resolution also demands that all “bombing is directed exclusively at military targets directly associated with Islamic State”, we believe that this is impossible to achieve. Indeed, in the lead up to the debate over bombing The Observer published testimony from a number of people who had escaped from Raqqa, often leaving family members behind, pleaded that Britain not bomb Raqqa, telling of how allied bombing had made their lives unbearable and that there had been civilian casualties. Alongside the likelihood of civilian casualties we also believe the bombing will do little to undermine ISIS and may actually strengthen their position.

While we appreciate that you have worked hard for the area and done a great deal to further women’s rights as an MP, after your voting in defiance of democratically agreed party positions for measures that are likely to cause civilian causalities and fail to undermine ISIS we would find it extremely difficult to support you if you sought to stand as a Labour candidate again.


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