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Edward Davey: "I have seen Obama's secret Syria intelligence"
12:40pm Friday 30th August 2013 in News
Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey says he understands criticism of his Syria military action vote last night but insisted he saw secret evidence from President Obama persuading him.
The energy secretary said he had seen President Barack Obama’s proposal for action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, in response to reports the Syrian Government killed hundreds of civilians in a chemical attack near Damascus on August 21.
He added he understood the British public’s cynicism towards sending in troops following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – and recognised his position would be at odds with members of his constituency party.
The Government’s motion supporting military action based on evidence from United Nations weapons experts was defeated in the Commons by 13 votes last night – ruling Britain out of joint US-led strikes in the war-torn country.
Mr Davey was one of 33 Lib Dem MPs who voted with the Government, with nine Lib Dems voting against, 14 not voting at all and one abstention.
Speaking to the Surrey Comet this morning, Mr Davey said: “I strongly believe in the need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons, but I also passionately believe in the will of Parliament.
"I think Parliament did reflect the views of the British people last night, and I think it is a great shame it did not when we voted on Iraq."
Mr Davey voted against the Iraq invasion of 2003, but said the evidence against the Syrian Government was “totally different” to the claims made against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship 10 years ago.
Mr Davey said: “The reality is the scars of the huge mistake of Iraq was in everyone’s minds, and I totally understand that.
“I’m absolutely sure that people will be disappointed that I voted the way I did.
"I will simply say that I was a member of the National Security Council, I had access to the detailed evidence, which frankly supported the open sources on the internet and TV.
"I also had access to what President Obama was planning, which I can’t share, but was, in his own words, a shot across the bows.
“It is not intervention in a civil war, it’s not boots on the ground - it’s a very limited action.
“I can understand why people are still cynical.
“After all the lies we were told over Iraq it isn’t surprising why people are deeply cynical and I completely understand that.
"But what I was witness to made me feel this was something utterly different to Iraq."
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