Syria air strikes were 'legally and morally right', Theresa May tells MPs

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 17, 2018

May said she recognized the importance of consulting parliament, but added there will always be circumstances where the government is able to act for operational reasons without first having a debate in parliament.

In turn, May attacked Corbyn's arguments that diplomatic efforts had not been exhausted, citing the 2013 agreement where the Syrian regime committed to dismantle its chemical weapons programme. Russian president Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs.

"It was in our national interest and it is a decision that should be, I believe, supported by everybody who recognises that we need to re-establish the global norms in relation to the use and the prohibition of the use of chemical weapons".

Still, she has had to tread carefully in parliament, where she now relies on a small Northern Irish party to get enough votes to pass legislation, and has worked hard to offer lawmakers, angry about being sidelined, time to discuss the Syrian action.

The premier endured six and half hours of proceedings on Monday - including more than three hours answering 140 direct questions from members - as she sought to demonstrate her commitment to Parliament in the face of allegations that she had rushed to war without seeking proper approval.

"It is my responsibility as prime minster to make these decisions. And I will make them", she said.

"Where is the legal basis for this?" he said. "And it was a decision that required the evaluation of intelligence and information, much of which was of a nature that could not be shared with parliament".

This is despite 61 percent of people surveyed believing President Assad's government or its allies were probably behind a chemical attack in the city of Douma.

He also did not rule out further attacks against Syria if the Assad regime continued the alleged use of chemical weapons.

"She authorised military action with no mandate", said one Conservative lawmaker on condition of anonymity. "And we can not wait to alleviate further humanitarian suffering caused by chemical weapons attacks".

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

He told the Commons that her statement to the House shows that she should be accountable to Parliament - not to the whims of the U.S. President.

"Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions were committed in violation of the United Nations charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in global relations", the statement said.

Corbyn also reiterated his view that it was not yet confirmed that the Assad regime launched the attack, and said inspectors from the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) should be "allowed to do their work".

He said chlorine has been used by "a number of parties in the conflict" in Syria as a weapon. There will be another non-binding vote Tuesday after the speaker granted Corbyn's request for an urgent debate on military action requiring parliamentary approval. "There is no more serious issue than the life and death matters of military action. It is right that parliament has the right to support or stop the government from taking planned military action".

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