London – British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to give parliament plenty of time on
Monday to scrutinize her decision to join U.S. and French air strikes on Syria on Saturday, her spokesman said.
May has been criticised for bypassing lawmakers when she decided to launch the action in Syria, which she has
defended by saying the government needed to move quickly to protect “operational security and give a very
clear message” to Damascus.
“The prime minister has set out very clearly over the weekend her reasons for taking the action which we did
in Syria, her focus today is on making a statement to parliament, allowing parliament to scrutinize that
decision,” he told reporters.
The spokesman said that an application for an emergency debate would give lawmakers even more time to discuss
NAN reports that faced a backlash from the domestic opposition after launching military strikes on Syria without
As the Conservative leader explained her rationale for the air strikes, opposition parties claimed the attacks
were legally dubious, risked escalating conflict and should have been approved by lawmakers.
The shadow of the 2003 invasion of Iraq still lingers in the corridors of Britain’s parliament, when MPs backed
then-prime minister Tony Blair in joining US military action.
“Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace,” said Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran leftist leader of the main
opposition Labour Party.
“This legally questionable action risks escalating further… an already devastating conflict.
“Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump.”
Corbyn has written to May seeking assurance that there would be no further bombing raids and urged the
government to negotiate a pause in the Syrian civil war.
The British, U.S. and French bombings on Saturday followed an alleged chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held
town of Douma on April 7.
U.S. Defence Department releases video of tomahawk missile launch
May’s government has insisted the punitive strikes were legal, releasing a statement that said they were aimed
at alleviating the “extreme humanitarian suffering” of the Syrian people by reducing the chemical weapons
capabilities of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
“The UK is permitted under international law, on an exceptional basis, to take measures in order to alleviate
overwhelming humanitarian suffering,” the government said.
Government added that it believed the Syrian government had committed a “war crime and a crime against humanity”
with chemical weapons use and that attempts to find a unified international approach through the UN had
been blocked by Damascus-ally Moscow.
Stop the War, a Pacifist coalition once chaired by Corbyn, has called a demonstration outside the British parliament
on Monday to protest against the strikes.
The group said it “strongly condemned” the action and accused May of “sanctioning killing” at Trump’s behest.
Deploying the armed forces is a prerogative power, meaning the prime minister can launch action without backing
After the Conservatives entered office in 2010, the government suggested that since the 2003 vote on Iraq, a
convention had emerged that MPs should have a say, except in cases of emergency.
British MPs voted against taking military action against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an
assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force.