Mr Redwood’s contribution to the Statement on Syria, 13 Jan

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): If we cannot guarantee safe delivery of non-lethal supplies, would it not be particularly unwise and foolish to start delivering weapons into this cauldron? Is it not right to concentrate on diplomacy, which is not compatible with war?

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): As my right hon. Friend knows, we are very much concentrating on the diplomacy. As my statement reflects, I am not proposing lethal supplies—I have always been clear that we would come to this House and have a vote if we were going to do that—but there is a role for non-lethal supplies, if they can be safely delivered and controlled, that save lives and help a moderate opposition to function, because without them diplomacy will not work. If it is only extremists and the Assad regime, diplomacy will never succeed, so there is a role for our support for the moderate opposition in that regard, but we must have confidence in how such supplies will be used.