Steve Aiken OBE MLA, Ulster Unionist MLA for South Antrim and former nuclear submarine Commander, has stated that whilst the Syrian airstrikes were the right thing to do, Parliament should have been recalled first to debate all the issues including the potential for wider conflict with Russia.
Mr Aiken said:
“The airstrikes on Syria were the right thing to do and the Prime Minister was right to order them. I am relieved that all British military personnel involved in the airstrikes returned safely to base and have once again demonstrated that when their country calls upon them, they will not be found wanting. Our thoughts are with them and their families.
“However Parliament should have been recalled before the airstrikes were ordered. This is not about following procedure. We should be considering what happens next in the wider context of the region. This isn`t just about Syria.
“Syria is a conflagration of all sorts of sectional, regional and global interests with one of the world`s superpowers, Russia, now firmly embedded ‘in-country’. We need to be debating the wider context of Russian involvement. We`ve now had months of reports of the Russian bear agitating in all sorts of ways – cyber-attacks, the use of chemical weapons and attempts to destabilise the electoral system in the west.
“This has the potential to escalate into a wider conflict and we should be debating all those scenarios.”