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South west Hertfordshire’s MP, David Gauke, insists Syria vote absence was sanctioned after reports of David Cameron's anger
South west Hertfordshire’s MP has insisted he acted with Government permission when he did not attend last week’s vote on Syria following reports the Prime Minister is considering sacking absent ministers.
David Gauke, who is exchequer secretary, missed Thursday’s vote on a motion over possible military action against the war-ravaged state - which resulted in a narrow defeat for the Government - as he was in France.
The MP said had initially planned to return from holiday in Provence when Parliament was recalled to vote on the motion.
Yet he cancelled plans to return from the family holiday after he said an agreement was reached between Labour and Conservative whips that a member of the opposition would also not vote on Thursday.
However Mr Gauke has been since named in reports saying David Cameron is angered by the MPs who failed to make the debate on the motion, which was narrowly lost by just 13 votes.
Reports have suggested the jobs of the ministers who failed to attend could be under threat in forthcoming changes due to be announced next week.
Speaking to the Watford Observer today, Mr Gauke said: "In my case I know that the whips have given me permission not to attend the vote and I can’t speak about other cases.
"I know in my particular case I acted in accordance with the whip’s instructions."
Last week Mr Cameron voiced his intention to launch military strikes against the Assad regime after evidence emerged it had used sarin nerve gas on civilians.
Yet the Government’s motion on Syria was watered down after it became clear it did not have backing from Labour opposition and could not count on the full support of its own Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs.
Even the weaker motion, which only promised to look at military action once more evidence of the chemical weapons attacks was compiled, was then defeated.
The loss leaves Mr Cameron in a difficult position as France and the US may still launch strikes against Syria without support from the UK.
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