The atrocity in Paris last weekend has horrified people across the globe. It is clear this barbaric attack has underlined all decent people’s rejection of terror and violence and reaffirmed their commitment to live in an open and free society. It has reinforced everyone’s intolerance of violence and extremism.
The freedoms we enjoy were won at great cost and should not be surrendered in cowardice. Our way of life is worth defending.
Those of us on the centre right of politics believe in judging individuals by their actions and holding them to account, irrespective of their identity. Criminal actions can never be excused on the basis of collectivism. There can never be justification for terrorism.
I know my constituents with a Muslim faith often feel at times such as these that they must be vocal in condemning terror. Every expression of commitment to peaceful co-existence is welcome but, just as I do not feel any responsibility to apologise for white extremists whom I condemn out of hand, decent British Muslims who are the vast majority should not feel obliged to apologise for the actions of the militants of so-called Islamic State.
I know from my own experience and friendships that the vast majority of people in Wycombe of all faiths and none are good and kind. I confidently anticipate the united support of local people in our impending battle against radicalism at home and ISIL abroad.
The Government is expected shortly to bring forward a strategy for extended military action against ISIL. The question today is categorically different to the first put to Parliament about Syria, which I voted against. Then we were asked to approve punishment strikes against Assad for his actions against his opponents. Now we are to be asked to extend operations against his opponents after their direct attacks on our friends and allies in France.
If the Government’s strategy pursues a just cause of defence and makes provision to avoid stumbling into war with Russia, it is highly likely I will support it. I will make my decision when the Government’s proposal is known.