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Syria air strikes: Theresa May faces MPs' questions

Syria air strikes: Theresa May faces MPs' questions
From BBC - April 15, 2018

Theresa May is to face MPs' questions about her decision to authorise air strikes against the Syrian government.

Opposition parties say MPs should have been consulted before the UK joined the US and France in bombing three Syrian sites, in response to a suspected chemical attack on the town of Douma.

Labour has called for the law to be changed for any future interventions.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson promised MPs would have "abundant time" to have their say.

Sites near Damascus and Homs were hit on Saturday in response to the alleged chemical attack on Douma on 7 April.

Both Syria, which denies any chemical use, and Russia, which provides military support to the Syrian government, have reacted angrily to the action.

UK prime ministers do not legally need to consult Parliament before launching military action, although they have done so since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Mrs May is due to give a Commons statement on Monday before facing questions from MPs.

She is also expected to ask the Speaker for permission to hold an emergency debate in Parliament on the issue of Syria.

BBC political correspondent Ben Wright said if approved it would be up to the opposition parties to decide if they wanted a vote at the end of the debate.

He said with or without the vote it would be "largely symbolic" and would mainly just acknowledge that Parliament has had its say.

But it would not give MPs the chance to formally approve or reject the air strikes themselves, says the BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg.

Her decision to authorise action without MPs' backing has been criticised by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said she could "easily" have recalled Parliament or delayed her decision until MPs returned to Westminster from the Easter recess.

Mr Corbyn called for a new War Powers Act "so governments do get held accountable to Parliament for what they do in our name".

This was dismissed by cabinet minister David Lidington, who told ITV there were "no plans" to change the law.

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