Party split as Corbyn calls action ‘legally questionable’
JEREMY CORBYN faces a rebellion from his own MPs tomorrow after describing the airstrikes on Syria as “legally questionable”.
The military action by Britain, the US and France has left Labour deeply split, with several MPs preparing to back Theresa May in the Commons.
The Labour leader said he had urged the Prime Minister to postpone the airstrikes during last-minute talks with Downing Street on Friday night.
Mr Corbyn criticised Mrs May for “taking instructions from Washington” and said she should have obtained Parliament’s backing before launching the strikes.
He said: “Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace. This legally questionable action risks escalating further, as US defence secretary James Mattis has admitted, an already devastating conflict and therefore makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely.
“Britain should be playing a leadership role to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict, not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm’s way.
“Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump. The Government should do whatever possible to push Russia and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.”
The leader of the opposition, who was visiting Huddersfield yesterday, said he had told Mrs May in their latenight phone call that Parliament should have been consulted before military action was taken. He said: “My whole point is that Parliament should be consulted, Parliament should be allowed to take a view on this but, instead, the strikes were launched last night.
“She claims there’s a legal basis for it. I’ve asked her in a letter I’ve just sent to her this morning to publish in full the legal basis and justification for it.”
But Carwyn Jones, Labour’s First Minister of Wales, backed the airstrikes, as long as they were part of a wider plan to bring peace to the region.
Mr Jones said: “I spoke with the PM last night about the action in Syria. I offered my support to any intervention that could prevent a further atrocity.”
John Woodcock, the Labour MP for Barrow and Furness, backed the action, but added: “The prime minister must explain to Parliament why she believed it was not appropriate to put this to vote in advance.”
Mr Corbyn faces a rebellion from Labour MPs