SNP Westminister Leader MP Angus Robertson is against the UK having military involvement in air strikes in Syria while Conservative party leader Ruth Davidson is for.

The two politicians outline their reasons why they have reached their stances. Here you can read what they think and we want to know what you think. Comment below. 


Against: Angus Robertson MP, SNP Westminster Leader

Today’s vote in the House of Commons on the UK’s military involvement in air strikes in Syria is a fundamental concern for all political parties, members across the House of Commons and the entire country.

The Scottish National Party shares the concerns about the terrorist threats by Daesh along with the rest of the country, but today’s debate and ultimate vote on whether or not the UK should take part in air strikes in Syria is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

We deplore the Assad regime and have raised the issue of refugees in the region and in Europe.

The SNP is keen to build on the international initiative agreed, at the Vienna peace talks, to secure a ceasefire in Syria. We want to see a transition to a stable representative government, countering terrorist groups including Daesh. We believe these aims will only be secured through agreement and a serious long-term commitment to Syria. 

The Prime Minister has asked us to consider his plan. We have listened closely, however our key questions remain unanswered.

How is the UK supporting the International Syria Support Initiative and other diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire? 

How will the UK secure peace on the ground? As the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee asked: “which ground forces will take, hold, and administer territories captured from ISIL (Daesh) in Syria”?

How will the UK plan secure long-term stability and reconstruction in Syria? The UK spent 13 times more bombing Libya than on its post conflict stability and reconstruction.

The Prime Minister has told us that there are 70,000 moderate opposition fighters on the ground in Syria that will help to defeat, rather than just contain, the threat of Daesh.  However these fighters do not appear to be a united force and are not necessarily fighting against Daesh with many also countering Assad’s Syrian army.

Two years ago the Prime Minister asked MPs to support bombing the opponents of Daesh that would probably have strengthened this terrorist organisation. Fast-forward to today and the Prime Minister wants us to launch a bombing campaign without effective ground support or a fully costed reconstruction and stability plan.

Unless the Prime Minister answers these questions satisfactorily, the Scottish National Party will not vote for air strikes in Syria.

With the Labour Party giving up its whip on a matter of war and peace- it is now the responsibility of the Scottish National Party to take the lead in holding the UK government to account. 


For:  Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party

A little under three weeks ago the peace of a Friday evening in Paris was shattered by automatic gunfire and the explosion of suicide bomb vests.  130 innocent civilians were slaughtered in cafes, restaurants, bars and at the theatre in an outrage claimed by the so-called Islamic State.  It was a declaration of war not just on France but on the values of the civilised world; an assault on democracy, the rule of law, liberalism and free speech.

Today, Parliament will vote on the issue of air strikes on the Islamic State in Syria.  I believe the right course of action – indeed the only course of action any responsible Parliament can take when faced with such a threat to the security of the British people – is to approve that military action.

I do not urge such action lightly.  I was a sceptic about the Iraq war - indeed I took part in marches against it - but the case for air strikes against Syria is different.

The threat posed by ISIL demands a united international response.  A multi-national effort is already underway which has a clear moral justification and the backing of a UN Security Council resolution which calls upon Member States to “take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law” against ISIL and to destroy the group's safe havens in Iraq and Syria.  The decision faced today is whether the United Kingdom answers that call and stands in solidarity with the international community or passes the buck to others.

I am clear in my own mind.  This isn’t a war we can opt in or out of; this war has come to us whether we like it or not.  The decision we have to make is how to respond.

Air strikes alone won't solve this, but they will weaken ISIL in their Syrian headquarters and that will help degrade them and their ability to plan, launch and coordinate further terrorist atrocities.

It would be unrealistic to approach this in the belief that a decisive military victory can be inflicted on ISIL, so just as important is the work we must continue in parallel with air strikes; countering the militants’ propaganda, funding the crucial humanitarian work being done by the Department for International Development in Lebanon and Jordan and using all our diplomatic channels.

But the immediate question is clear.  Do we shoulder our international responsibilities or do we shirk them?

France - our oldest ally - has asked for our support.  We should give it to them.