Corbyn Questions Legal Basis for British Strikes in Syria
Apr 16 2018
As Theresa May weighs up whether to call a vote in the Commons on Britain's strikes against the Assad regime in Syria, the Labour leader insisted that the bombing raids launched early yesterday morning were illegal.
Speaking on the BBC'sAndrew Marr show, Mr Corbyn said: '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'.
His comments came as Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, declared...
The US, France and Britain fired 105 missiles into Syria on Saturday, targeting chemical weapons facilities, in response to a chemical attack on the town of Douma, which had been a rebel stronghold.
"This legally questionable action risks escalating further, as USA defence secretary James Mattis has admitted, an already devastating conflict and therefore makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely". Russia, which backs Assad's regime, described reports as a "provocation" orchestrated to justify Western military intervention in Syria and has called for the U.N. Security Council to meet Friday to discuss potential military action from Western allies.
Asked how the United Kingdom would respond to fresh chemical weapons attacks, he said: "With allies, we would study what the options were".
"She could have recalled Parliament last week or she could have delayed until tomorrow when Parliament returns itself", he said.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said taking military action against the Assad regime had been the "wrong thing to do".
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 worldwide law in relation to the use of chemical weapons, which was deeply concerning to us all".
Mr Johnson said her mobile phone had been hacked.
"In a modern, parliamentary democracy, I think you have got to have parliamentary approval if you have a planned, policy decision to launch a military attack of any significant size".
Downing Street said ministers at a cabinet meeting agreed that the use of chemical weapons must not "go unchallenged".
President Trump is expected to speak to French President Emmanuel Macron about what form action could take, with the White House saying "no final decision has been made".
She also indicated that she sees Russian Federation, which provides military support to the Syrian regime, as "a greater threat to world peace" than the United States.
Mr Corbyn said: "President Trump has a way with words, that's for sure".
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".