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SNP: Parliament must be recalled before Theresa May launches military action in Syria

SNP: Parliament must be recalled before Theresa May launches military action in Syria

Emilio Casalicchio

3 min read

Theresa May must recall parliament so MPs can discuss a possible military strike against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the SNP has declared.

The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said launching military action and having a debate afterwards "would not be appropriate".

His call comes as the UK gears up to strike the Syrian regime in the wake of the alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta last weekend.

The Prime Minister has called an emergency meeting of her Cabinet for this afternoon at which she is expected to request backing to join Donald Trump in military action.

Prominent Tory MPs - including Foreign Affairs Select Committee chair Tom Tugendhat - have urged Mrs May to go ahead and not be stalled by seeking the approval of parliament.

But Mr Blackford said she would be in a dangerous position if she did so as she "failed to get an overall majority" at the general election last year.

"She is a minority prime minister. And before any action is taken she must consult with the other parties and there must be a debate in the House of Commons.

"We need to be informed of the evidence the Government has for what has taken place and I think in a very calm manner we need to discuss what the options that are in front of us."

He told Mrs May: "You need to seek the consent of parliament before you commit the United Kingdom to any action."

And on Twitter he said: "I would day [sic] to @theresa_may that if the UK Cabinet is meeting today to discuss Syria Parliament, must be recalled to discuss the situation.

"There is no reason why we could not meet tomorrow or on Saturday."

The Syrian government has denied any involvement in the attack, while Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution authorising an independent investigation into what happened.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mrs May said the UK, America and France were "rapidly reaching the understanding" that the Assad regime was responsible for the atrocity.

"We are working with our allies, we have been working to get an understanding of what happened on the ground," she said.

"We are rapidly reaching that understanding. All the indications are that the Syrian regime was responsible and we will be working with our closest allies on how we can ensure that those who are responsible are held to account and how we can prevent and deter the humanitarian catastrophe that comes from the use of chemical weapons in the future.

"The continued use of chemical weapons cannot go unchallenged."

Mr Trump yesterday ramped up the rhetoric against Russia, tweeting that missiles “will be coming” and urging Moscow to stop supporting a “gas killing animal”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a “political solution” - urging all sides in the conflict to "get round the table" and avoid a "hot war".

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll for the Times found just a fifth of voters back the use of military force against Syria, while two fifths oppose it (43%) and the rest are undecided (34%).

However some 61% did say they thought the Assad regime or its allies probably carried out the attack.  

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