Sec­ond de­bate to by held by MPS on Syria strikes

Evening Express (City Final) - - UK & Abroad -

MPS WERE to stage a sec­ond emer­gency de­bate in the space of 24 hours over Bri­tain’s role in mis­sile strikes of Syria’s chem­i­cal war­fare fa­cil­i­ties.

Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow granted Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn a de­bate to con­sider the rights of Par­lia­ment to de­bate and ap­prove mil­i­tary ac­tion by Bri­tish forces over­seas.

The ses­sion was due to be­gin this af­ter­noon. It fol­lows a marathon three-hour Com­mons state­ment by Theresa May yes­ter­day which was then fol­lowed by an­other three-hour de­bate on a back­bench mo­tion.

The “take note” mo­tion, say­ing the House had con­sid­ered the sit­u­a­tion in Syria and the Govern­ment’s ap­proach passed com­fort­ably by 314 to 36 in a largely sym­bolic vote, with Labour ab­stain­ing.

In the course of her ap­pear­ance at the Des­patch Box, the Prime Min­is­ter largely suc­ceeded in pla­cat­ing Con­ser­va­tive crit­ics – de­spite con­cerns among some back­benchers that there was no Com­mons vote. She even won sup­port from a se­ries of Labour MPS who backed her de­ci­sion to join the US and France in mount­ing strikes af­ter 75 peo­ple were thought to have died in a sus­pected chem­i­cal at­tack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

Mr Cor­byn – who re­peated his as­ser­tion the ac­tion was “legally ques­tion­able” – faced jeers from Tory MPS af­ter telling Mrs May she was “ac­count­able to this Par­lia­ment, not to the whims of the US pres­i­dent”.

The Prime Min­is­ter, how­ever, de­fended her de­ci­sion not to re­call Par­lia­ment, say­ing speed had been “es­sen­tial”, sug­gest­ing the “se­cu­rity” of the op­er­a­tion could have oth­er­wise been com­pro­mised. She also ratch­eted up the diplo­matic war of words with Rus­sia – the Syr­ian regime’s prin­ci­ple backer – ac­cus­ing Moscow of pre­vent­ing in­spec­tors for the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for the Prohibition of Chem­i­cal Weapons (OPCW) reach­ing Douma.

Rus­sian of­fi­cials at OPCW head­quar­ters in The Hague later said ar­range­ments were be­ing made for the in­spec­tors to travel to the site to­mor­row.

How­ever, there are fears in West­ern cap­i­tals that much of the ev­i­dence of what hap­pened on April 7 will no longer be there.

Rus­sian foreign min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov flatly de­nied that Rus­sia had “tam­pered” with the ev­i­dence and in­sisted there was no proof that chem­i­cal weapons had even been used in Douma.

ses­sion: Jeremy Cor­byn has been granted a de­bate by Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow.

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