Tuesday 22 August 2017

Legal advice on Syria military action to be published

Legal advice on taking military action in Syria will be published this morning, Downing Street has confirmed.

MPs have been urged to give a united response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria after David Cameron was forced to concede that any decision on British involvement in military action should be delayed to give United Nations inspectors time to complete their work.

But Labour is continuing to push ahead with its own amendment and will only decide whether to support the Government's motion later in the day.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband said: "I'm clear that this is a very grave decision to take military action that the House of Commons would be making and I didn't think that that decision should be made on an artificial timetable when the House of Commons wouldn't even have seen the evidence today from the UN weapons inspectors.

"I'm determined to learn the lessons of the past, including Iraq, and we can't have the House of Commons being asked to write a blank cheque to the PM for military action."

A Labour source said: "We will be pressing ahead with our amendment. We believe it gives a clearer road map, sets our clearer, criteria of what must be done before any military action is taken."

UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Government "was bending over backwards" to try to address concerns over military action, including publishing advice from the attorney general and the Joint Intelligence Committee.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think there is a great deal of understandable anxiety and concern and unease about what taking possibly military steps would mean for this country, for the world, for the region and so on.

"We had anticipated that. That is why we have said that we want the UN process to be followed, why we must listen to what the UN inspectors say, that's why we have been bending over backwards to both recall Parliament, now say there's going to be not one but two votes, to talk to the Opposition, to publish the legal advice from the Government as we will later this morning, to publish the advice and findings from the Joint Intelligence Committee, as we will this morning."

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