Navy cannot act in Syria after MPs vote

Warships sail for their deployment in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions. ''''Four Royal Navy warships, six Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels and a civilian vehicle ferry joined together on their way to the Mediterranean to hold a series of exercises over the next four months.
Warships sail for their deployment in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions. ''''Four Royal Navy warships, six Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels and a civilian vehicle ferry joined together on their way to the Mediterranean to hold a series of exercises over the next four months.
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AN MP has spoken of his delight after British military action in Syria was ruled out after the government lost a vote.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock’s comments came after the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition lost a Commons vote by a majority of 13 last night.

It means Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious and HMS Westminster, on exercise in the Mediterranean, cannot join any American-led task force.

The motion proposed the possibility of military action in Syria ‘if necessary’.

Mr Hancock voted against the motion and an amendment.

The defeated Labour amendment said military intervention should only happen if criteria is met, including ‘compelling evidence that the Syrian regime’ was responsible for a chemical weapons attack.

After the vote, Mr Hancock said: ‘I couldn’t be more pleased that parliament dealt with the decision in the way that it has.

‘It’s very, very difficult for [prime minster David] Cameron to bring this back, and I think it now prevents us making a grave error of judgement by sending cruise missile into Syria.’

Mr Cameron said it was clear parliament was against action.

‘I get that and the government will act accordingly,’ he said.

Gosport’s MP Caroline Dinenage voted against the amendment but for the motion.

She said she had told the Tory whips earlier this week she could not support a motion that advocated military intervention.

‘I told the government whips that I wouldn’t be supporting any call for military action, which is why I was please that when the motion was presented it wasn’t asking for any direct military intervention,’ she said.

‘I could support the government on that basis, that they would come back before parliament before any military strikes.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt spoke in favour of the motion. And Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said he voted with the government but only as the motion made clear it wanted to follow a United Nations path, not intervene.

With British military action in Syria firmly off the table, talk of the navy’s involvement can end.

But that does not mean the navy is any less busy, with many ships involved in a major operationincluding Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious and HMS Westminster.

Both ships are part of the four-month long operation in the Gulf and Mediterranean, called Cougar 13.

They are joined by two other navy and six Royal Fleet Auxilliary ships.

The first major exercise taking place is Albanian Lion, in the Adriatic, which will see marines from flagship HMS Bulwark carry out a series of mock assaults on enemy positions.