Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford, cast his vote against British involvement in the Syrian conflict in the Commons adding to Cameron’s crushing defeat.
He said: “I voted against air strikes at this time into Syria. As a group, we had deep discussions regarding the situation in Syria and what our response should be to that situation. It was our informed and reasoned belief that an airstrike at this time is not the best solution, and this belief was reinforced by the lack of evidence of a thought out approach that would show us an exit strategy.
“My fear, and that shared with my DUP colleague was and is the knock-on effect of any reaction on the Middle East as a whole and it is clear that whilst military action can never be taken off the table completely, it should only be utilised when it is a viable option and at this time that is not the case.
“During the debate, I had an intervention in my colleague Jeffrey Donaldson’s speech, in which I said: “Further to that point, does my Right Hon. Friend recognise the implications for the ethnic minorities in Syria, and in particular for the Christians, who have been subject to ethnic cleansing?
“Those Christians just want the support of the Syrian state and unity in their country, and yet they are subject to intimidation and persecution.This is an issue which had been the focal point of most of the calls and emails made to my office regarding Syria and it is clear that whilst we certainly should not sit on our hands and do nothing – it is not in the interest of the nation at this time to take up arms.
“It was a close vote and I know that PM Cameron is not pleased, but at this time, I am satisfied that the DUP made the best decision possible with the information at hand,” added Mr Shannon.