London: British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to face restive lawmakers on Monday to justify her decision to launch airstrikes against Syria without a vote in Parliament.
UK's May to face angry lawmakers over Syria airstrikes
The UK debate comes as the European Union's foreign ministers joined together to say they understood the need for the airstrikes and called for a new push for a political solution to the war in Syria. Royal Air Force jets joined American and French warplanes and ships in hitting targets in Syria early Saturday in response to a reported chemical attack by the Syrian government in the town of Douma.
Parliament, which returned on Monday after a spring break, was not consulted about the action. The British government is not legally bound to seek lawmakers' approval for military strikes, although it is customary to do so. May's office said on Monday that she plans to tell lawmakers that the airstrikes were "in Britain's national interest," were carried out to stop further suffering from chemical weapons attacks and had broad international support. "We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized, either within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or elsewhere," May plans to say, according to excerpts of her speech linking the chemical attack in Syria with the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter last month with a military-grade nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday that the airstrikes against Syria, which targeted three chemical weapons sites, had been "calibrated and proportionate." He said the action was "not an attempt to change the tide of the war in Syria or to have regime change." In an unusual move, the British government says it will seek an emergency House of Commons debate on the airstrikes so legislators can have their say.