THE power to wage war should be curtailed for future prime ministers, Jeremy Corbyn has insisted, as a furious political backlash over the Syrian bombing raid pitches Parliament against the executive.

Theresa May will today face the wrath of opposition MPs after she ordered RAF Tornados to join American and French forces in a military campaign that saw 100 missiles rain down on the Assad regime’s chemical weapons factories.

This afternoon the Prime Minister will seek to defend her decision, insisting it was “the right thing to do”; to stop the normalisation of the use of chemical weapons, stressing how the US-led military action had widespread international support.

But her decision not to give MPs a debate and vote has sparked accusations, including from Nicola Sturgeon, that Mrs May has “sidelined” Parliament.

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The SNP along with Labour have demanded more than just a Commons statement but a full emergency debate and vote to ensure any further action would require discussion and approval by MPs. Indeed, last night it emerged the PM herself had asked John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, for an emergency debate following her statement; although she did not mention a vote.

Mr Corbyn, critical of Mrs May bypassing Parliament, suggested: “What we need in this country is something more robust like a War Powers Act so that governments do get held to account by Parliament for what they do in our name."


He claimed the PM could have recalled Parliament but she appeared to have been “more interested in following Donald Trump’s lead than anything else…This is policy made up by Twitter”.

The Labour leader told the BBC’s Marr Show: “If we want to get the moral high ground around the world, as a member of the Security Council, as a country with a long tradition of international involvement, shall we say, then we have to abide by international law. And I say to the Foreign Secretary, I say to the Prime Minister, where is the legal basis for this?”

He suggested he would only ever back military action if it had the approval of the United Nations. “I can only countenance involvement in Syria if there’s a UN authority behind it.”

At one point, Mr Corbyn seemed to question if the Assad regime had indeed been responsible for the chemical attack on Douma.

Asked how he would respond if the chemical weapons watchdog, the OPCW, did confirm Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian leader, was responsible, he replied: "I would then say confront Assad with that evidence, confront any other group that may be fingered, and then say we must now come in and destroy those weapons."

The First Minister claimed it was a "serious mistake" for the role of UK armed forces in Syria to be altered without the approval of Parliament.

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She argued the US-led military strikes would do nothing to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria and that “cool heads and careful strategy” were needed rather than a “macho strongman stand-off” between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, that risked escalation.

Ms Sturgeon told STV News On Sunday what was needed was a "long-term, coherent, patient international effort to take Syria to peace".

She added: “We need to look at options for gaining an assurance that if there is to be any further action that changes the terms of engagement of UK forces in Syria, that that is sanctioned by a vote in Parliament.”

But Boris Johnson for the UK Government defended Mrs May’s decision to take executive action without consulting Parliament.

He argued there was “abundant precedent” for it and that action had to be taken “in such a way as to protect the security of our armed services to enable them to do it with the despatch and efficiency that they need”.


The Foreign Secretary described the allies’ action as “proportionate” and declared that as far as the use of chemical weapons was concerned: “Finally, the world has said enough is enough."

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But he admitted that the military strikes to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime would not turn the tide of the Syria civil war, which is being won by Government forces.

“If we say that we are limiting our action to chemical weapons…then, yes, of course, it follows that the rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will,” Mr Johnson told Andrew Marr.

“And there’s no doubt…Assad is determined to butcher his way to a kind of Carthagenian peace in Syria.

“It will be a great thing if the Russians – and it’s only the Russians I’m afraid, not the Americans alas - if they put the pressure on him to come to the negotiating table in Geneva,” he added.


In her Commons statement, Mrs May will again say it is “highly likely” the Assad regime was behind the Douma poison gas attack, noting how inspectors mandated by the United Nations had on four previous occasions found it had been responsible for chemical weapon attacks.

She will tell MPs: “We have acted because it is in our national interest to do so…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.”

The PM will add the military action was undertaken because “it was the right thing to do” and had “broad-based international support”.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin said in a phonecall to Hassan Rouhani, his Iranian counterpart, that if there were more military strikes by Western powers, then it would “inevitably provoke chaos in international relations”.

In New York today, after the US announced more sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Douma attack, there will be a push to drive diplomacy forward with a draft resolution, which will call on the UN to try to reinvigorate the stalled peace talks, accept a ceasefire and restore humanitarian access to besieged areas.