Politics: Theresa May prepares for Commons showdown as she defends Syria airstrikes – but she STILL won’t call full vote

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STRIKING Syria was in the “national interest” and the use of horrific chemical weapons can’t be allowed to become normal, Theresa May will tell MPs today.

In a crunch Commons showdown this afternoon the Prime Minister will defend her decision to join US and France in destroying bases in Syria last weekend.

Theresa May – pictured this morning at a Commonwealth summit with Prince Harry – will face MPs later today

She will today argue that she authorised strikes on Syria because it was the right thing to do, and will link it to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on the streets of Salisbury last month.

She will tell MPs: “Let me be absolutely clear: we have acted because it is in our national interest to do so.

“It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria – and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used.

“For we cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – either within Syria, on the streets of the UK or elsewhere.”

Typhoon aircraft have been used in the retaliatory strikes on Assad’s regime
The besieged town of Douma was targeted in a chemical attack on April 7

The PM is under pressure from MPs for launching strikes without a vote.

But International Development Secretary said today that “outsourcing that decision to people who don’t have the full picture would be quite wrong” and that it was “crazy” to let MPs have the final say on military strikes such as those last weekend.

“It’s never been necessary to go to parliament for this,” she told Radio 4 this morning. “The Government has been right to take this action.”

Theresa May wrote in a powerful article for The Sun today that the “unimaginable horror” must be stopped – as she prepares to argue her case to MPs.

Mrs May said “On Saturday, the message went out loud and clear from Britain, France and the US, to those seeking to rip up the international rule book: Stop — and stop now.”

The PM explained how the action has been backed by a succession of world leaders – “from Germany’s Angela Merkel and EU President Donald Tusk to Malcolm Turnbull of Australia and Justin ­Trudeau of Canada.”

Boris Johnson has said Assad has gone too far and strikes on Syria will tell him the world has had enough
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is thought to have launched a chemical attack on the town of Douma – on his own people
The Foreign Secretary is meeting other foreign ministers in Brussels today

The Commons showdown today comes as Boris Johnson launched a fresh attack on Syrian dictator Bashar al- Assad, saying he has “gone too far” with chemical weapons and must be stopped from gassing kids.

The Foreign Secretary said the world has “had enough” of the dictator’s sick attacks.

He told reporters as he arrived for a summit in Brussels today: “The action taken by France, by the UK, by the United States in launching calibrated and proportionate strikes… was entirely right for the UK and right for the world.”

Mr Johnson stressed that it was “not about regime change” and accepted that the Syrian war will “go on in its horrible, miserable way”.

But he stormed: “It was the world saying that we have had enough of the use of chemical weapons, the erosion of that taboo that has been in place for 100 years has gone too far under Bashar Assad.

“It was time that we said no and it was totally, therefore, the right thing to do.”


Chemical weapons research and storage plans in Damascus and Homs were flattened overnight


The news came as:

  • DONALD Trump hailed the “perfectly executed” missile blitz;
  • JEREMY Corbyn said he would support military action only if Russia backed it — and called for laws to prevent military action without the approval of Parliament;
  • THE Labour leader repeated his claim that the gas attack could have been carried out by Assad opponents — despite being shown intelligence that it was the Syrian regime;
  • TORY whips put MPs on notice for a Commons vote within 48 hours.
  • SATELLITE images showed how the missile strikes destroyed Syrian chemical weapons sites.
The Syrian chemical weapons facility after the joint air strikes

Labour Shadow Minister says Syria SHOULDN’T face strike punishment

LABOUR’S Shami Chakrabarti has sparked uproar by saying that we shouldn’t punish Syria with strikes just for “bad behaviour”.

The Shadow Attorney General said ministers haven’t demonstrated “convincing evidence” on the case for action and said that ministers hadn’t met their own tests for striking.

“Being blocked [in the UN] does not justify intervening,” she told Radio 4 this morning. “You can’t use force under international law just to punish Syria for bad behaviour.

“You have to actually be using urgent, necessary and proportionate force. And you have to be doing it with the will of the world behind you”.

But leaders around the world including from Germany, Australia, Canada and the EU have got behind us for taking action.

The Labour boss used an article in the Guardian today to again call for more talks and no action, and described strikes as “wrong and misguided”.

He said that we should only act with support from the UN, even though Russia has repeatedly blocked investigtions in Syria and halted action at every turn.

Mr Corbyn said: “Now is the moment for moral and political leadership, not kneejerk military responses.

“We have to remove the scourge of chemical weapons but also use our influence to end the still greater scourge of the Syrian war.”

He wants to introduce a new law to make the Prime Minister have a vote before launching military action in any case.

The PM will also call for an emergency debate in Parliament later after pressure from MPs – and has ordered Tories to be back in the country and ready to support her.

While No10 will not push for a vote, ministers were quietly confident of winning any motion.

Only a handful of Tory MPs were said to be opposed, with dozens of Labour MPs ready to break ranks with Mr Corbyn.

Portraits of May, Trump and Macron burned in disputed Russian region of Crimea over Syria air strikes

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