May defends British strikes in Syria against parliament critics

17 Abril, 2018, 10:56 | Author: Arnold Perez
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British Prime Minister Theresa May, said on Saturday that it was right and legal to order cruise missile strikes against Syria after a chemical attack on civilians in the town of Douma.

"There is no proposal on the table at the moment for further attacks because so far, thank heavens, the Assad regime have not been so foolish as to launch another chemical weapons attack", he told the Andrew Marr show.

Johnson said on Sunday to CNN that Britain had to move quickly on Syria, ruling out parliamentary approval.

Ian Blackford, the leader of the opposition Scottish National Party in Westminster, was one of many who asked May why she had not recalled parliament for a vote, breaking with a convention dating back to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Foreign minister Boris Johnson, in Luxembourg, again said the strikes were not aimed at regime change in Syria, but rather created to send a message.

May said the aim was to deter the Syrian authorities from further use of chemical weapons and to send a message to the wider world that it was unacceptable to use such weapons.

Despite winning global backing, May, who has weathered questions over her leadership due to Brexit and party scandals, has a precarious position in parliament after losing the Conservatives' majority in an ill-judged election in June.

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But she still has to tread carefully in parliament, where she now relies on a small Northern Irish party to get enough votes to pass legislation, and has tried to appease lawmakers, angry over being sidelined, by offering time to discuss Syria.

But she avoided answering questions on her future strategy for Syria, on whether parliament would be consulted on any further strikes and ignored demands by Corbyn for a War Powers Act to limit the government's power to launch military action.

May will make a statement on the action to the House of Commons on Monday, but opposition lawmakers have lined up to call for a more meaningful debate and a possible retrospective vote on the action, which would severely test her position.

But in a sign that the government feels under pressure, one lawmaker said on condition of anonymity that the party's whips, charged with maintaining voting discipline, had made clear that Conservatives should vote with the government.

She refused to be drawn on whether she would seek their approval for future action.

"Outsourcing that decision to people who do not have the full picture is, I think, quite wrong", International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told BBC radio.



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