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After Syria strikes, British PM May to face critical parliament

17 April 2018

Ian Blackford, the leader of the opposition Scottish National Party in Westminster, was one of many who asked May why she had not recalled parliament for a vote, breaking with a convention dating back to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"At the weekend, the leader of the opposition cited this diplomatic agreement as precedent that this process can work", May said. "It did not stop the Syrian regime from carrying out the most abhorrent atrocities using these weapons". In 2003, Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded Parliament to support the invasion of Iraq, a decision that has cast a shadow over British politics, and the country's willingness to intervene overseas, ever since.

"These were not empty buildings", May said, saying the targets included a scientific research centre developing chemical weapons, a chemical weapons bunker and command post and a missile base, assessed to be a location of sarin gas.

Theresa May has insisted the airstrikes, which targeted President Assad's chemical weapons facilities, were legal and "in Britain's national interest".

At a time when May might have hoped for a surge in nationalistic pride, 54 per cent said she was wrong to order strikes by Royal Air Force Tornado without the consent of Parliament, while only 30 per cent backed her (there were 16 per cent don't knows).

The Prime Minister dismissed claims from Labour MPs that she was acting on the "whims" of US President Donald Trump in launching the attacks, branding the suggestions as "insulting".

The decision required the evaluation of intelligence "much of which was of a nature that could not be shared with Parliament".

"I'm absolutely clear that it is parliament's responsibility to hold me to account for such decisions and parliament will do so", she told the House of Commons in a rowdy session that laid bare divisions over the military action.

Ireland will not condemn the air strikes and Irish sources said there was no division within the European Union about the need to deter chemical attacks and that the Assad regime was involved in wholesale slaughter of its own people. May was outdone by one of his own lawmakers, Laura Smith, who said that she had been "trying to follow President Trump's tweets", had found it "extremely hard to keep track if he was for military action or against military action" and asked Mrs.

Responding to May, Corbyn accused the prime minister of being drawn into the action at the behest of the US.

"The prime minister is accountable to this Parliament, not the whims of the US president", Corbyn said.

In 2013, when David Cameron, then the prime minister, asked Parliament for permission to strike Syria, lawmakers refused.

"This means engaging with all parties that are involved in the conflict, including Iran, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States to ensure there is an immediate ceasefire".

He said chlorine has been used by "a number of parties in the conflict" in Syria as a weapon.

"The overwhelming why this was the right thing to do, and that is to deter the use of chemical weapons - not just by the Assad regime - but around the world", Mr Johnson said. "This legally questionable action risks escalating already devastating conflict".

"I believe that parliament should have been consulted and voted on the matter".

Mr Corbyn said that if Britain wants to "get the moral high ground around the world" it must abide by worldwide law for taking military action. "It is right that parliament has the right to support or stop the government from taking planned military action".

"Once again we have been dragged into military action with little regard for the humanitarian [situation] on the ground and no long-term strategic plan".

After Syria strikes, British PM May to face critical parliament