PRIME Minister May will go before the House of Commons today to try to explain why she ordered British cruise missile attacks on Syria as part of a joint operation with the United States and France and refused to allow the House of Commons to take the decision. US President Donald Trump warned on Saturday the US is ‘locked and loaded’ to strike again if Syria allegedly carries out chemical attacks.
NATO allies expressed their ‘full support’ for the strikes, the alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, told reporters in Brussels. With Tory UK foreign secretary Johnson backing more military action against Syria, Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn called for a vote in Parliament today.
Corbyn told the Andrew Marr show, PM May ‘could easily’ have recalled Parliament or delayed her decision until MPs returned today. He also called for a War Powers Act, ‘so governments do get held accountable to Parliament for what they do in our name’.
Asked if there were any circumstances in which he would back air strikes in Syria, Corbyn told Marr: ‘I can only countenance involvement in Syria if there is a UN authority behind it.’
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said taking military action against Bashar Assad’s government had been the ‘wrong thing to do’. She told ITV’s Peston On Sunday: ‘We think that it should be in law that there should be a vote in Parliament before we take military action.’
Corbyn added that Labour would continue to push for a debate and a vote on the intervention, describing it as ‘policy made up by Twitter’, in a reference to the US president’s tweets ahead of the air strikes. In a letter to May on Saturday, Corbyn said: ‘Parliament should have been consulted and voted on the matter. The UK Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament, not to the whims of a US President.’
He added: ‘I believe the action was legally questionable, and this morning the UN Secretary General has said as much, reiterating that all countries must act in line with the UN Charter. You assured me that the Attorney General had given clear legal advice approving the action. I would therefore be grateful if you would publish this advice in full today. ‘Given that neither the UN nor the OPCW has yet investigated, it is clear that diplomatic and non-military means have not been fully exhausted.
‘It is now vitally important that the OPCW inspectors, who are due to arrive in Douma today, are allowed to do their work and publish their report into their findings – and report to the United Nations Security Council. ‘I would therefore welcome your assurance that there will be no further bombing raids while OPCW inspectors are on the ground. They must be allowed to complete their inspections without hindrance.’
May said the Tory Cabinet had taken advice from the Attorney General, National Security Adviser and military chiefs when it met last Thursday.
She added: ‘We agreed that it was both right and legal to take military action together with our closest allies.’