I have taken the difficult decision to vote to support the extension of British airstrikes against ISIL to Syria.
I know that many people hold strong views on this and I fully understand that there will be many people who disagree with me. I completely respect their view, and despite reaching a different conclusion I know they have also made their decision in a principled way.
I asked my constituents in St Helens North, including Labour Party members and supporters, for their views and listened carefully to what they said.
I listened intently to the debate in Parliament today and have spoken with colleagues including the Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, the Shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle and our Deputy Leader Tom Watson.
I also received a private briefing at the Ministry of Defence from the Secretary of State for Defence and defence personnel. It was a sobering assessment of the direct threat Britain faces from ISIL terrorism and a detailed explanation of the current situation in Syria.
On the basis of what I have heard, learned and discussed I believe the right thing to do – on balance and however difficult – is to support the extension of airstrikes against ISIL to Syria.
In the coming days, I will be writing to all those to constituents who contacted me to fully set out my position.
Conor McGinn MP

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