Friday, 20 July, 2018

Corbyn accuses May of waiting on Trump over response to Syria crisis

Fighter jets were seen taking off from a British Royal Air Force base in Cyprus early on Saturday Fighter jets were seen taking off from a British Royal Air Force base in Cyprus early on Saturday Credit AP
Melinda Barton | 15 April, 2018, 04:22

The prime minister, who spoke to Trump about the need to deter chemical weapon use in Syria in a phone call Thursday, is facing pressure from all sides to seek the backing of parliament.

Russia, which backs Assad's regime, described reports of chemical weapons as a "provocation".

Her office said that she had talked with Mr Trump by telephone on Thursday evening to discuss Syria.

Mrs May has said "all the indications" are that the Syrian regime of president Bashar al-Assad, which denies mounting a chemical attack, was responsible for the alleged attack in the formerly rebel-held town of Douma.

"This action risks not just further escalating the civil war in Syria but also a risky escalation of worldwide tensions".

Britain should press for an independent UN-led investigation into the suspected chemical attack in Syria rather than wait for instructions from the U.S. President Donald Trump on how to proceed, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

Speaking at Downing Street on Saturday morning, May said the strikes were "limited and targeted" and created to degrade the Syrian regime's ability to develop and use chemical weapons.

"The government appears to be waiting for instructions from President Donald Trump on how to proceed", the Labour Party leader said in a statement.

A statement from Downing Street added: "They agreed to keep working closely together on the global response".

"Bombs won't save lives or bring about peace".

It follows his initial reaction to the bombing, when he was joined by Vince Cable and Nicola Sturgeon in questioning the Prime Minister's decision to move forward without a parliamentary vote.

Downing Street said the United Kingdom will continue to work with the U.S. and France to coordinate an global response.

Labour's shadow home secretary was asked four times in a radio interview whether the response of a Labour government could include military action in the Syria crisis.

Russia's deputy prime minister, Arkady Vladimirovich Dvorkovich, hit out at Trump on Friday, saying global relations should not depend on the mood of one person when he wakes up in the morning, referring to the US president's tweets on potential missile strikes into Syria. "But the United States administration is giving alarmingly contradictory signals".

"It is just frankly not right and we have to take action to stop that happening in the future and that's what we did last night".

"The Prime Minister could and should have recalled Parliament this week and sought the approval of MPs before proceeding".

MPs are due to return to Westminster from the Easter recess on Monday - and a row is continuing between some MPs over whether a vote should take place in Parliament before any action is taken.