Parliament vote on Syria?

Britons split on UK intervention, but against conflict with Russia

Financial Times

Theresa May urged to back Syria attack without vote in parliament

Senior Conservative MPs pressed Theresa May on Tuesday to back military action in Syria without waiting for parliamentary approval.

Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, said that a strike against Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles “would not require” a vote by MPs.

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Britons split on UK intervention, but against conflict with Russia

Britons are split on UK military action in Syria - but oppose it if it means conflict with Russia, a Sky Data poll reveals.

Asked in general about UK military action in response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria, 36% support it and 37% oppose it - 9% answer neither, 18% don't know.

But asked if they would support military action if it results in conflict with Russia, opposition rises to 48% and support falls to 28%, with 10% answering neither, 13% don't know.

In April 2017, when the Syrian government used chemical weapons against their own people, a considerably higher 51% supported "British involvement in military intervention by Western countries to stop the crisis in Syria", with 32% opposed.

However, UK Prime Minister Theresa May convened a special "war cabinet" yesterday as the UK prepared to join France and the US in military action against the Syrian regime, following its apparent use of chemical weapons.

The Cabinet was asked to approve a form of British participation in action led by France and the US, aimed at Syrian President Bashar al Assad's chemical weapons infrastructure.

It comes after a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian city of Douma, eastern Ghouta, reportedly killed 70 people and injured 500 at the weekend.

The US military was preparing options for Donald Trump to strike Syria, after the President warned Russia to "get ready" because missiles "will be coming".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and others demanded MPs be given a vote in Parliament to authorise potential military action in Syria.

The Labour leader insisted the House of Commons "should always" be given a say on UK military intervention.

Theresa May's Conservative government has only a slim majority and a loss in such a crucial vote would be disastrous for her leadership.

In 2013, David Cameron, who had a bigger majority than Mrs May, faced humiliation when MPs rejected possible UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to deter the use of chemical weapons.

The prime minister certainly could agree to launch UK missiles from a Royal Navy submarine or RAF jets without MPs giving the green light first. While the recent practice has been for governments to win the backing of parliament before UK military action it is only a convention to do so and a recent one at that.

In March 2003, the Blair government's move to secure the approval of MPs in advance of the Iraq invasion was the first time the decision to go to war had been given to parliament. That established a precedent that has been followed since and Theresa May will be acutely aware of how events played out.

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The Guardian

MPs caution May against Syria action without Commons vote

MPs have urged Theresa May not to commit to a military confrontation in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons without a vote in parliament, while a former Labour frontbencher has suggested Ed Miliband was wrong to oppose action in 2013.

David Cameron lost a Commons vote in 2013 over proposed airstrikes to punish Assad's use of chemical weapons, after the then Labour leader Miliband and Conservative rebels opposed the plan. May, who has a much slimmer majority in parliament than Cameron had, could risk her leadership being fatally undermined by a similar result.

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