The British House of Commons has been debating whether or not “in principle” to support foreign military intervention in Syria following an alleged chemical attack.
Prime Minister David Cameron put forward his case for why Britain should step in: “The President of the United States, Barack Obama, he is a man who opposed the action in Iraq, no-one could in any way describe him as a president who wants to involve America in more wars in the Middle East. But he profoundly believes that an important red line has been crossed in an appalling way and that is why he supports action in this case”.
Cameron had originally recalled MPs to vote on an immediate military strike in Syria. After learning Labour would vote against the motion, he was forced to adapt it, saying he would wait for the report from UN inspectors before holding a second vote.
Labour says it wants to see “compelling evidence” that the Assad regime was responsible for chemical warfare, and said weapons inspectors must be given more time.
Labour leader, Ed Milliband told parliament: “Let them conclude their work for four days and then we will have to analyse scientifically with experts and then we will have to report to the security council for action, so the weapons inspectors are in the midst of their work and will be reporting in the next few days, that is why today could not have been the day when the house was asked to decide on military action.”
However Labour MPs said shortly before the debate that they would still vote against the government.
It’s believed up to 70 Tory MPs say they are “yet to be persuaded” by the coalition’s case for military action.
A second parliamentary vote on British involvement in military action will probably not happen until at least early next week, after the UN’s weapons inspectors have published their report into last week’s alleged “gas attack”.
Earlier, protesters outside Downing Street warned the prime minister against military intervention in Syria, holding banners proclaiming “Hands off Syria” and “Cut War Not Welfare”.