MPs to have emergency debate on bombing Syria - but will not get substantive vote on strikes

Posted On: 
15th April 2018

MPs will take part in an emergency debate on the RAF's air strikes on Syria - but will not be given a retrospective vote on the military action against the Assad regime.

MPs will debate the weekend's air strikes on Syria.
PA Images

Theresa May will apply to Speaker John Bercow for the unscheduled debate - known as an "SO24" in the parliamentary rule book - to take place after she has updated the Commons on her decision to join America and France in targeting the Syrian leader's chemical weapons facilities.

The military action, which took place in the early hours of Saturday morning, were in retaliation for the alleged chemical attack on the rebel-held city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta a week ago.

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Mrs May has come under fire for going ahead with the air strikes with first seeking the approval of MPs.

A Downing Street source said Monday's debate would "give MPs the chance to talk at length" rather than be confined to simply asking the Prime Minister questions following her statement.

The source also confirmed that it would not be followed by a substantive vote, but said it would have "no bearing one way or another on there being a vote in the future".

Donald Trump has insisted that further military action will take place if the Assad regime carries out further chemical attacks on his own people.

In her statement, Mrs May will say it is "highly likely" that the Syrian dictator was behind the Douma atrocity, which left up to 75 civilians - including children - dead.

She will also say that Russia, which backs Assad, had blocked any attempts to carry out a United Nations investigation into the attack.

"We cannot wait to alleviate further humanitarian suffering caused by chemical weapons attacks," the Prime Minister will say.

She will add: "Let me be absolutely clear: we have acted because it is in our national interest to do so.

"It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria - and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used

"For we cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised - either within Syria, on the streets of the UK or elsewhere."

Mrs May will insist the military action "was the right thing to do", and had the support of the international community.

Jeremy Corbyn has said the military action was "legally questionable", and has also suggested that non-Assad groups may have been responsible for the Douma attack.