Syria air strikes: MPs to hold second emergency debate

Fighter jets were seen taking off from a British Royal Air Force base in Cyprus early on Saturday

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labor Party, called for a War Powers Act to ensure future military action would only be taken if parliament approved of action.

May said there wasn't time to consult lawmakers before Britain joined US and French airstrikes on Syrian military targets on Saturday and dismissed opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn's accusation that she was acting on "the whims of the USA president" as an insult to her government.

"No other group could have carried out this attack", she told MPs, adding that the Syrian authorities had reportedly attempted to "conceal the facts. supported by the Russians".

May, whose leadership has been questioned after scandals, divisions over Brexit and an ill-judged election that lost her party its majority in parliament, has found support from other global leaders for backing action against Syria.

But she will be grilled over why she broke with a convention to seek Parliamentary approval for the action, a decision that she and her ministers say was driven by the need to act quickly.

"The UK prime minister is accountable to parliament, not to the whims of a USA president", he wrote in a weekend letter to May and reiterated in the House of Commons on Monday.

May said she recognized the importance of consulting parliament, but added there will always be circumstances where the government is able to act for operational reasons without first having a debate in parliament.

Saturday's strikes, which came in response to a suspected chemical attack on the former rebel stronghold of Douma on April 7, targeted the sites near Damascus as well as in the province of Homs.

"We have done it because we believe it was the right thing to do and we are not alone".

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But in a sign that the government feels under pressure, one lawmaker said on condition of anonymity that the party's whips, charged with maintaining voting discipline, had made clear that Conservatives should vote with the government.

A third event called Don't Bomb Syria starts at 5.30pm in Bedford Square Exeter.

Any vote at the end of Monday's Commons debate on the issue will be largely symbolic, merely to acknowledge that Parliament has had its say rather than give MPs the chance to formally approve or reject the air strikes themselves.

Corbyn also called on May to abandon support for the Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen, and cancel arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as the humanitarian situation there - widely considered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world - would also justify military action by her logic.

The poll by Survation for the Mail on Sunday showed 36 percent in favour of Britain's participation in the air strikes, 40 percent against and the remainder undecided.

The strikes, carried out alongside the United States, mark May's first major military action since coming to power nearly two years ago.

"She authorised military action with no mandate", said one Conservative lawmaker on condition of anonymity.

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