MPs likely to have given back­ing be­fore Bri­tish strike

The Guardian Weekly - - Uk News - Peter Walker and Jes­sica El­got

The Com­mons re­sponse to Theresa May’s state­ment on mil­i­tary strikes in Syria ex­posed a para­dox: while many be­lieved she should have sought the ap­proval of par­lia­ment be­fore­hand, it seemed clear this would have been granted any­way.

Labour MP Jess Phillips summed up this view two hours into the dis­cus­sion, say­ing: “I re­gret that were wasn’t a par­lia­men­tary vote on this is­sue. But I wish to tell the prime min­is­ter and the house that she would have had my vote had I been asked to give it.”

Other Labour MPs stood up to con­tra­dict Jeremy Cor­byn’s view that the UK’s in­volve­ment was legally ques­tion­able and should not have hap­pened, while also re­gret­ting May’s de­ci­sion to not re­call par­lia­ment.

Sim­i­larly, a num­ber of in­de­pen­dent-minded Con­ser­va­tive MPs sup­ported May’s de­ci­sion to join the US and France in the strikes. But the prime min­is­ter came under re­peated pres­sure over the lack of ad­vance par­lia­men­tary scru­tiny of the de­ci­sion.

Yvette Cooper, a se­nior back­bench Labour MP, said: “The PM and her cab­i­net ap­pear to be re­ject­ing the en­tire prin­ci­ple of con­sult­ing, de­bat­ing and vot­ing in par­lia­ment in ad­vance of mil­i­tary ac­tion.”

An­other Labour MP, Hi­lary Benn, asked for an as­sur­ance from May that if there was a fur­ther chem­i­cal at­tack in Syria, “she will come to par­lia­ment first, she will share such ev­i­dence as she can … and that she will trust par­lia­ment to de­cide what is to be done”.

The prime min­is­ter also came under pres­sure over the very lim­ited num­bers of Syr­ian refugees brought to the UK.

Labour’s Stella Creasy said she wanted to “beg the prime min­is­ter to re­think her ap­proach to those Syr­i­ans who have fled to Europe. They are the same peo­ple flee­ing this hor­ror, they are the peo­ple who needed this safe haven.”

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