Issues

The Syria strikes were legal, and they were right

The Prime Minister made the right decision this weekend. On 7th April, over seventy people were killed by chemical weapons belonging to the Assad regime. Five years ago, after a similar attack in which thousands were murdered, the Syrian president promised to give up his stockpile in return for Britain and our allies not destroying it ourselves.  But he broke that deal. He needed to be punished. And the Prime Minister exercised her legal authority to use military force when she deems it necessary. 

I understand why some constituents are concerned about more military action in the Middle East. We still feel the scars of Iraq. Yet we need to remember that Britain remains a force for good, and our actions this weekend were unquestionably right. Assad broke his promise, he gassed innocent victims, and the Prime Minister responded appropriately

What's more, whether you are in favour of strikes or against them, a Parliamentary vote on the subject will not help matters further. Indeed, there were votes on not a single one of the 124 wars waged by the United Kingdom since 1800, including both First and Second World Wars, the Falklands, nor the Gulf War.

The first time that Parliament was asked either to approve or to prevent a military deployment was in 2003, when Tony Blair secured not one but three votes on the invasion of Iraq. That cannot give anyone - whether in favour or against a strike against Syria - much confidence that parliamentary votes necessarily reflect approval, popular support, or legality.

When the Prime Minister explains the strikes to MPs today, I will show her my full support.