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Don't take us into another illegal war

As May summons her cabinet to discuss military action in Syria. MPs warn against doing so without giving Parliament a say

OPPOSITION leaders and MPs are warning Theresa May against backing the United States in its threatened military action against Syria’s government without Parliament being allowed a say.

They have been demanding a Commons debate and vote before any new military action takes place, but Ms May sidelined Parliament ytoday and called an emergency Cabinet meeting instead.

There are signs that she is preparing to join US-led air strikes against Syrian government targets after claiming that “all the indications” were that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were responsible for an alleged chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma last weekend.

A protest against the attack plans is being held tomorrow at 5pm outside Downing Street.

No 10 has not said whether Ms May was preparing to order British forces to join the US-led military action.

Parliament is in recess until Monday, but Ms May has been urged to recall it early for an emergency debate and vote after aggressive public posturing by US President Donald Trump added to tensions.

He wrote on Twitter today: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”

It is five years since he tweeted, during Barack Obama’s presidency: “Don’t attack Syria – an attack that will bring nothing but trouble for the US. Focus on making our country strong and great again!”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn invoked the mistakes of the Iraq war as one of the reasons why MPs should have a say on Syria.

He said: “Parliament must be consulted on this.

“Surely the lessons of Iraq, the lessons that came there from the Chilcot report, are that there’s got to be, there has to be, a proper process of consultation.

“We elect Parliament, we elect members of Parliament. They should have a voice in this. Cabinet on its own should not be making this decision.

Warning that bombing now “could escalate the conflict beyond belief, he added: “Just imagine the scenario if an American missile shoots down a Russian plane or vice versa. Where do we go from there?”

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford told the BBC that Parliament should be recalled immediately for a vote.

Mr Blackford also said: “I would simply say to the Prime Minister, be very careful, because you do not have a majority in Parliament.

“You are a minority government and you need to seek the consent of Parliament before you commit the United Kingdom to any action.”

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said further military action in Syria could see the “US, Britain, France, Russia, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Hezbollah, Iran and possibly Saudi Arabia” become involved.

He added: “The threat of escalation is very real. I oppose this push for war. The PM must call a vote in Parliament.”

Father of the House and Tory former chancellor Ken Clarke also joined the clamour for a parliamentary vote.

He told BBC Radio 4 World at One: “To say that Parliament is just sidelined before you take such a serious decision is a very retrograde step.

“It makes parliamentary accountability fairly pathetic.”

Syrian opposition activists allege that poison gas was used on Douma, an allegation strongly denied by the Assad government.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said it intends to send investigators to the town near the capital Damascus to seek evidence of a chemical attack.

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