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View from the house: I oppose military interventiton in Syria

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 April 2018

Archant

We are all appalled by what seems to have been a horrific chemical weapons attack in Syria.

There is growing pressure on the government to commit itself to military intervention, to which I have two points to make.

First, I am very doubtful as to whether any intervention by the West will make matters any better and will probably make them worse.

We should never intervene unless there are outstanding reasons for doing so; to do so hastily on the coattails of a recklessly impulsive US President seems to me a terrible idea.

Second, parliament should be consulted about this. I have heard a number of MPs say that we need to respond quickly and therefore it has nothing to do with parliament. On that basis, let’s get rid of democracy altogether.

In strict constitutional terms, PMs technically have the right to go to war without consulting parliament.

However, since even Victorian times they have not tended to do so. It always used to be done on a technicality but the only good thing, in my view, to emerge from the Iraq War was that Tony Blair asked Parliament to vote on a substantive motion. We were voting very clearly on going to war.

How can a post-Iraq prime minister can go to war without asking the same question?

If we go to war without consulting parliament, Mrs May will probably pay a very heavy price in the near future.

However, the bottom line is that I would oppose military intervention in Syria, as I did three years ago and as I did in the case of Iraq.

View from the House


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