March 26, 2019

PM calls for emergency debate on UK’s part in Syria bombings

Theresa May will tomorrow call for an emergency debate on the UK's part in the Syria air strikes as she argues that the UK acted to prevent more humanitarian suffering by choosing to take military action against the Syrian regime.

On Friday, air strikes were carried out by UK, US and French military forces in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack carried out by the Assad regime last week.

Speaking in Parliament, the Prime Minister will be clear that it was in the "national interest" to carry out the air strikes, and will point to the strong backing the UK and its allies received.

She will also apply to the Speaker for an emergency debate to give Parliament an "extended opportunity to discuss the military action."

However, this doesn't necessarily mean a vote will take place, as an emergency SO24 vote is non-binding, and will require the opposition parties to push for an official vote.

Read more: Johnson: UK must take precautions to defend against Russian retaliation

She will say:

UNSC-Mandated inspectors have investigated previous attacks and on four occasions decided that the Regime was indeed responsible.

We are confident in our own assessment that the Syrian Regime was highly likely responsible for this attack and that its persistent pattern of behaviour meant that it was highly likely to continue using chemical weapons.

Furthermore, there were clearly attempts to block any proper investigation, as we saw with the Russian veto at the UN earlier in the week.

And we cannot wait to alleviate further humanitarian suffering caused by chemical weapons attacks.

It comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyncriticised the decision, as he stated that the bombing raids that were carried out may have been illegal.

"If we want to get the moral high ground, as a country with a history of international involvement, then we need to abide by international law, and I say to the foreign secretary, and I say to the prime minister, where is the legal basis for this?” he told BBC One's Andrew Marr show.

He will also tomorrow call for a War Powers Act which would require the Prime Minister to consult Parliament before putting forces into the field of action.

But foreign secretary Boris Johnson said to the BBC that he fully supported the attacks, as they would act as a deterrent for the Assad regime to not use "barbaric" chemical weapons in future.

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