Parliament matters. That is the conclusion from the vote undertaken a week ago in the House of Commons on military action in Syria. Parliament was recalled to debate what action we should take - David Cameron believing now was the right time to launch an attack. Thankfully, parliament disagreed.
The death of thousands of Syrian civilians from a chemical weapons attack is abhorrent and cannot be ignored. But I was - and remain - highly skeptical that a military mission could do anything to protect the already abused people of that nation.
In terms of foreign policy, I am neither a ‘hawk’ or a ‘dove’; I protested the war in Iraq, and defended military action in Libya. But every decision to use military force is a grave one, and one that must be made in the right way. The resolve amongst my Labour colleagues was a determination to avoid the mistakes that were made with Iraq.
That’s why I voted to ensure that evidence preceded decision - any proposed military action needed to have a clear legal basis in international law, clear and achievable military objectives and be limited to deterring the future use of chemical weapons.
The decision to commit our armed forced overseas is the most serious judgement an MP has to make. Which is why, for my part, I made it clear that had my party concluded military action was the correct course, I would not have been able to support it in the division lobbies.
The attacks were a moral outrage and the use of chemical weapons rightly demands condemnation by the international community.
But more than that we must not now wash our hands of the issue – there are other diplomatic and humanitarian means to help the people of this deeply troubled nation.
That’s why government must now galvanise international support.