Idlib

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 3:39 pm, 10th September 2018

The right hon. Gentleman raises a wider question and the Foreign Affairs Committee published something on it today. Indeed, sitting behind him is one of the members of that Committee, Mike Gapes, brandishing a copy of the report, and I know his feelings about it very clearly, and all of us who were in the House on 29 August 2013 remember the circumstances. It would be wrong to pin the blame for everything that has happened in Syria on such a vote and such actions that were taken at the time. The responsibility for the tragedy of Syria lies fairly and squarely at the hands of Assad, the regime and those who have supported it, and we should look in no other direction. None the less, the question about what needs to be found out is real. I am not sure whether an independent inquiry is the right thing to do; we have been over this many times, but the right hon. Gentleman is right that there are lessons to be learned about how we got where we are, and they are essential because the world cannot go on looking on at these dreadful situations and feel as powerless as often we do.