The Labour leader has responded to UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement on recent airstrikes in Syria, saying that her statement serves as a reminder that she is accountable to the British Parliament, and not to Donald Trump.
Jeremy Corbyn said that Labour’s position would be to introduce a War Powers Act “to transform a broken convention into a legal convention.”
Corbyn, who called the action “legally questionable,” said legislation should be enacted to make it mandatory that parliament approve military action. He also asked May if she would cease arms sales to Saudi Arabia and stop the government’s support for the bombing campaign in Yemen.
He also called on the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to be allowed to carry out their investigation into alleged chemical-weapons use in Douma.
Continuing the Labour leader called on May to adhere to the recommendations in the Chilcot Inquiry, the 2016 report into Britain’s role in the Iraq War which said that there must be stronger checks on intelligence. He then asked that the government take in more child refugees from Syria.
May responded by saying that the government has supported thousands of child refugees and that the UK is at the forefront of the diplomatic effort in Syria. She claimed that the UK was justified in carrying out the attack as it was designed to ease the suffering of victims of Bashar Assad’s regime by degrading his alleged chemical weapons capability.
Responding to the leader of the opposition’s insistence that parliament should have been recalled to hold a vote on military action, May said: “This was a limited, targeted strike on a legal basis that has been used before. And it was a decision which required the evaluation of intelligence and information, much of which was of a nature that could not be shared with Parliament. We have always been clear that the Government has the right to act quickly in the national interest.”
The Labour leader made it clear in an interview on Sunday with BBC’s Andrew Marr that he could only envisage UK involvement in Syria if there is backing from the UN. He also urged Donald Trump to exhaust diplomatic efforts and en with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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