Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the US led military strikes which have taken place in Syria overnight risk a dangerous escalation of the conflict and of international tensions.
The SNP’s Westminster leader has lodged a motion pressing for an emergency debate on UK involvement in Syria and called on the UK to take part in a clear, international plan to bring peace to the region.
Responding to UK involvement in the US led strikes First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“My thoughts this morning are with service personnel called to action.
“We cannot tolerate Syria’s use of chemical weapons on a civilian population – but there has been no explanation from the Prime Minister or the President on how this action, taken without parliament’s approval, will halt the use of chemical weapons or contribute to a long term peace in the area.
“Air strikes by US and UK forces have not resolved the situation in Syria in the past and I am not persuaded they will do so now.
“This action risks not just further escalating the civil war in Syria but also a dangerous escalation of international tensions. There must be urgent confirmation from the Prime Minister that there will be no further action and no change to the role of UK military in regards to Syria without a full parliamentary debate.
“An international strategy is urgently required to bring peace and stability to the region. UK foreign policy should be aimed at reaching an international consensus not simply complying with Presidential wishes.”
SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford has pressed for an emergency House of Commons debate on the UK and international response to the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria, following confirmation of the UK’s involvement in air strikes.
The SNP have tabled an application for an emergency debate on Monday, and are calling on the UK government to allow a full debate to ensure MPs have the opportunity to discuss the appropriate response to the attacks.
The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, who had urged Theresa May to recall Parliament for a debate today (Saturday), said that a simple statement from the Prime Minister would not be acceptable, she should table a full debate – and that there must be no further use of UK forces in Syria without a vote.
Commenting, Ian Blackford MP said:
“Parliament must have the opportunity to discuss and decide on the appropriate response to the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria.
“It is not acceptable that the Prime Minister has ploughed ahead without any debate or parliamentary discussion. She does not have a mandate for military action and the UK Government must not take the support of parliament for granted.
“The Prime Minister must recognise the precedent that was set with the parliamentary debate and vote that took place in 2015, that specifically authorised airstrikes exclusively against ISIL. It must be Parliament that determines UK military action not the US President.
“The UK must work with our partners across the international community to ensure a considered response to the abhorrent attacks in Syria, with a clear strategy, that enables proper investigation, prevents the development and use of chemical weapons, holds those responsible to account, and helps bring the war to a close.
“To plough blindly ahead with an ill-considered military intervention, without the backing of Parliament and, crucially, with no short or long-term plan; no specified, achievable outcomes; no clear, effective strategy that benefits civilians on the ground in Syria; and no indication of an exit strategy, will be wholly unforgivable.”