Many of you have written to me about the momentous ten-hour debate last week on extending military action against Daesh to Syria.
Several valuable and thoughtful points were raised from Members of Parliament from all political parties during the debate, both for and against the motion for action. I voted to extend the UK airstrikes against Daesh to Syria in response to the grave and serious threat the organisation poses to our national security. This was not a decision I took lightly. However, the horrific attacks in Paris brought home the clear danger that we all face from Daesh; I strongly believe we had a responsibility to extend action we were already taking in Iraq to Syria in order to combat the global and unprecedented threat we face from this terrorist organisation based across both countries. Some people have written to me saying that extending military action could result in reprisals – I disagree; Daesh have made their intention clear, as we can see from Paris. They hate our values, they hate our belief in tolerance and decency and they hate us for who we are.
We know that they have killed 30 British tourists in Tunisia, 224 Russian holidaymakers on a plane, 178 people in suicide bombings in Beirut, Ankara and Suruç and 130 people in Paris. These are people who behead and crucify, sell children and women into sex slavery, and in June threw four gay men off the fifth storey of a building in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. We know that they are plotting more attacks and therefore we cannot afford to stand aside and refuse to act in self-defence against those who are planning these attacks on our citizens.
Moreover, France and our allies have asked for our assistance; we must show our solidarity for our friends who have suffered such bloody acts of aggression. Alongside further efforts to find a political solution to the Syria conflict and our significant humanitarian aid effort, this is the best chance we have of enabling Syrians to rebuild their country.
This week I am in Paris for the UN Climate Change Conference to work towards ensuring a global deal for tackling climate change with a binding legal mechanism and a five-year review to assess how we are doing against the targets we set. I want us to reach agreements to prevent global temperatures rising past a dangerous threshold of 2 degrees Celsius, to offer support to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable to tackle the effects of climate change, and to transfer technology from the richest countries to the poorest countries.
There’s a long way to go. But I am confident that these global climate talks will be a major step in tackling climate change. But the work of this conference and the actions of many nations across the world coming together is vital for ensuring our long term economic security and will help us to achieve a brighter, cleaner and more secure future for our children and grandchildren.