Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
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No time for parliament vote on Syria strikes, says May

No time for parliament vote on Syria strikes, says May

"These strikes are about deterring the barbaric use of chemical weapons in Syria and beyond", the UK PM said on Saturday, after the attacks took place.

May's predecessor, David Cameron, lost a vote on air strikes against Assad's forces in 2013, with many in Britain wary of entering another conflict, especially after an inquiry concluded that then-prime minister Tony Blair's decision to join the 2003 USA -led war against Iraq was based on flawed intelligence. She is now enjoying global support for her action in Syria and against Moscow over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain.

Much of the criticism will come from opposition lawmakers, but the prime minister may also have to work hard to defend her speed of action to members of her own Conservative Party who had wanted parliament recalled.

Speaking to MPs, the prime minister was attempting to face down a revolt led by the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn to assert the right of the parliament to approve overseas military action.

"It is a tremendous weapon in the hands of an adversary", said Rob Joyce, White House cybersecurity coordinator, in a call with the media. "Why was this not done?"

On Monday, May's ministers stood by her decision to launch the strikes without parliamentary approval, saying only government had the access to the necessary intelligence.

Corbyn drew jeers and shouts for his taunt that May had acted to please Trump.

Much of the criticism directed towards the government is to do with the perception that the United Kingdom is merely following President Donald Trump's lead in order to foster goodwill ahead of the country's departure from the EU.


In Luxembourg, the foreign ministers of the 28 European Union countries called for a political breakthrough involving regional players to put Syria on track to a peaceful solution for its seven-year conflict.

Corbyn won approval for a debate on parliament's rights in regard to British military action on Tuesday, and parliament debated long into the evening on Monday on the government's strategy in Syria, particularly regarding civilians there.

May faced down her domestic critics as France's premier defended the "proportionate" response to the use of chemical weapons. Foreign minister Boris Johnson, in Luxembourg, again said the strikes were not aimed at regime change in Syria, but rather created to send a message.

But she will be mindful of how military action can backfire.

The French prime minister said Western airstrikes on Syria sent a strong, clear message to dissuade Syria's regime from using chemical weapons.

Opinion polls suggest that most Britons do not support military action, with one by Survation taken after the strikes were launched showing 40 percent of the 2,060 people asked opposed the action.

May said the presence of helicopters and the use of barrel bombs pointed the finger of blame squarely at the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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