Government minister and North East Beds MP Alistair Burt is playing a key role in Britain’s response to the deepening Syrian crisis.
Alistair, who is Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for the Middle East, interrupted his summer break to keep on top of developments and advise senior colleagues.
It follows the chemical attacks in Syria last Wednesday which have met with widespread condemnation and the threat of military intervention from the West.
Parliament was recalled on Thursday to discuss the issue where MPs voted against Britain getting involved in military option.
Mr Burt said: “After the attacks the Foreign Secretary has been in London and he is in charge. My main contribution has been to give my opinion on how we should respond.
“I have been going in and getting fully briefed by officers, then speaking to colleagues and giving them as much information as we can.
“My first priority has been to be absolutely familiar with everything.”
Mr Burt visited Syria in 2010, shortly after becoming Foreign Minister: “Syria was one of my earlier visits, before the Arab Spring took place.
“At the time it was a regime we did not like but in respect of British interests we worked with it.”
Since then he has been to neighbouring countries, and recently was in Istanbul where he met members of the Syrian National Coalition.
Comparisons have been made with the invasion of Iraq a decade ago but Mr Burt said: “There is a danger in having a simple reaction and thinking all situations in the Middle East are identical.
“But Iraq has cast long shadows and it was important to recall Parliament.”