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Labour and Plaid MPs push for parliament

    • 1 posts
    April 12, 2018 5:39 AM MDT

    The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria has forced Welsh figures from across the political divide to confront the dilemma of how to respond.

    Labour and Plaid Cymru figures have pushed for any proposed military action to be put to Parliament.

    Meanwhile, it is understood Prime Minister Theresa May will summon her Cabinet on Thursday to discuss the Government's response to th crisis.

    Former Foreign Minister and Labour Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said: “We need clear tactical and strategic objectives for any military action which should be put to parliament to debate and decide.”

    I couldn't disagree more. We need clear tactical and strategic objectives for any military action which should be put to parliament to debate and decide. Especially considering last two votes, it is important to build a consensus. https://twitter.com/George_Osborne/status/984059770188500992

    The prospect of a parliamentary vote would trigger memories of David Cameron’s defeat in 2013 when MPs rejected military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by 285 votes to 272. This was widely seen as a key influence on President Obama’s decision not to order a US-strike.

    Former Foreign Minister and ex-Pontypridd Labour MP Kim Howells said it was “not at all clear” that Theresa May “can win a vote if she decides to put it to parliament”.

    Former Intelligence and Security Committee chairman Kim Howells said steel could become a 'strategic material' in a war situation

    Kim Howells does not want chemical weapons use to be normalised

    UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Parliament should “be given a say on any military action” and warned against “bombardment which leads to escalation and a hot war between the US and Russia over the skies of Syria”.

    But Mr Howells said: “I’m afraid that the awful thing is that if there isn’t some sort of military intervention then it does normalise the use of chemical warfare.”

    'I can’t see Corbyn advising Labour to vote with the Government'

    He was concerned by the attitude of senior figures in his party, saying they did not seem “particularly worried” about “new forms of warfare,” adding: “I don’t think that there’s any sense of an urgency in the Opposition towards this sort of stuff, so I can’t see Corbyn advising Labour to vote with the Government if indeed she puts the vote to Parliament.”

    Mr Howells also doubted the extent of public appetite for an attack, saying: “I don’t think that the great British public is up for military intervention abroad any longer. The experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have bred a ‘little Britain’ mentality which I’m afraid allows or helps these murderous dictators to get away with terrible crimes with impunity.

    “Who’s going to stop them? The United Nations is really a bust flush as far as taking any action to try and prevent dictators and people like Assad from murdering their own citizens. All it needs is a veto on the Security Council and that’s it, there is no action taken.”

    Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia,  because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!

    Plaid Cymru Westminster leader and Dwyfor Meirionydd MP Liz Saville Roberts said that a “knee-jerk reaction by Western forces must be resisted”.

    She said: “The belligerent tone adopted by Presidents Putin and Trump are deeply inflammatory and irresponsible. In the absence of rational actors, any talk of military action by the UK must be treated with extreme caution.

    “Past events have taught us that planning for war without planning for peace can reap even more devastation for the civilians caught up in the conflict. The UK must not at any cost participate in military action of any kind without parliamentary consent.

    “This should be reflected within the international community through securing UN backing for any intervention. As a priority, Western forces should bear pressure on regional actors to grant aid agencies and the [World Health Organisation] access to the areas worst hit by the war.”

    If there is any suggestion of military action against Syria by UK, there has to be a debate and vote in Parliament. There is no current mandate for an escalation of activities in Syria beyond challenging Daesch. The UK Govt cannot sanction action without Parliamentary authority.

    Montgomeryshire Conservative MP Glyn Davies did not support a recall of parliament to put the issue to MPs.

    He said: “My view is that I expect the Prime Minister to take a very serious view of it and not agree to any form of military action unless she thinks it’s the right way to go... I’m not keen on MPs being given the vote...

    “I just don’t think MPs are sufficiently informed and qualified and have access to the inevitably confidential information that is needed to make such a decision.”

    He said the priority must be to ensure that military action “won’t make the situation worse and it will alleviate some of the unbelievable suffering”.

    Jonathan Edwards: Strike must not be about 'making the western powers feel good about themselves'

    Plaid Cymru Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards warned against a “tokenistic” attack and stressed the need for parliament – which is in recess – to have its say on a strike.

     

    He said: “I think there should be parliamentary approval for any strike. I don’t see why the response has to be over the weekend.”

    Setting out his two tests, he said: “Is it likely to make a difference? And, two, will it lead to escalation?”

    He fears a strike would have “more to do with making the western powers feel good about themselves” than “doing anything meaningful in Syria,” adding: “In that regard you’re failing the people if that’s the primary motive.”

    David Davies: 'The war isn’t going to end until one side has won'

    Monmouth Conservative MP David Davies said: “I think we should be asking ourselves what it is that we’re hoping to achieve and how we get there. That’s the basic question.

    “Now, my thought is that we all want the bloodshed to end in Syria, and what is most likely to bring that to an end without causing a threat to the UK?”

    He was wary of empowering extremists, arguing that “handing over the place to Isis isn’t going to work”.

    He said: “The war isn’t going to end until one side has won, so one side has to win in order for the war to end.”

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