Jeremy Corbyn calls for War Powers Act after Britain joins Syria airstrikes

16 April, 2018, 01:36 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Lady Farrington of Ribbleton

Asked if there were any circumstances in which he would back air strikes in Syria, Mr Corbyn told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: "I can only countenance involvement in Syria if there is a United Nations authority behind it".

"There is precedent over previous interventions where Parliament has had a vote and what I think what we need in this country is something more robust, like a War Powers Act, so that governments do get held to account by Parliament for what they do in our name".

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Mr Corbyn's latest comments demonstrated the Labour leader's "blindness to reality".

The action following an alleged chemical-weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Douma on April 7 was condemned by several British opposition parties, who wanted parliament recalled.

Mr Corbyn said that if Britain wants to "get the moral high ground around the world" it must abide by worldwide law for taking military action. If May's government chose to intervene, she might not have enough votes in Parliament to support her, leading to speculation that she might try to bypass a Parliamentary vote.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has sent a fact-finding mission team to Syria to start investigations on Saturday, a spokesperson said.

Sources say the PM is prepared to take action against the Assad regime without first seeking parliamentary consent.


The Prime Minister said she judged the operation to be in Britain's national interest, adding that there was "no practicable alternative to the use of force". The attack killed "up to 75 people", according to the government.

During Thursday's cabinet meeting called to discuss the United Kingdom response, she described it as "shocking and barbaric" and said it was a "further example of the erosion of global law in relation to the use of chemical weapons, which was deeply concerning to us all".

Gabbay said Corbyn had shown "very public hatred" towards Israeli government policies including those where the opposition and the ruling coalition are aligned.

Johnson criticised Corbyn for saying he did not believe there was "incontrovertible evidence" that the Russian state was involved in the Salisbury poisoning, despite being privy to government intelligence about the case.

But British involvement in further military intervention is controversial at home, in a country still haunted by its role in the US-led invasion of Iraq.

He has accused her of allowing the timing of the intervention to be dictated by US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, and has questioned the legality of the raids.

Legal advice published by the government on Saturday argued that in exceptional circumstances governments can take military action "in order to alleviate overwhelming humanitarian suffering".

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