MPs likely to have given backing before British strike
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.”