By Peter Hoskin
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no surprise that Tory MPs are joining
Douglas Alexander in seeking a recall of Parliament ahead of any military
action in Syria. After all, 81 of them signed a
letter to David Cameron in June, demanding a vote on any decision to dispatch
British arms to the rebels.
it’s also no surprise that the author of that letter, Andrew Bridgen, is among
the most insistent voices this time around, now that missiles appear poised
to strike at Assad. “We need to recall Parliament immediately, if that’s
what’s on the table,” is how he put it on the radio yesterday. “I
want to hear what the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary has to say at the
else is there? Well, Sarah Wollaston is tweeting
in no uncertain terms (“Parliament must be recalled before, not after, any
decision on military involvement or action in Syria”). Bob Stewart has said
that, “Parliament may well have to be recalled before we take any military
action”. And there are others, including Douglas
Carswell and Zac Goldsmith,
backbenchers’ concerns seem to be about parliamentary sovereignty, or about the
wisdom of military action in Syria, or both. Quite a few are voicing the point made by
Wollaston this morning: that the Government needs to act swiftly when
Britain’s national security is threatened; but that Britain’s national security
isn’t threatened in this instance.
for what the Government is saying, William Hague told this morning’s edition of the
Today Programme that the Coalition has a “good record” when it comes to
consulting MPs on matters military – but he added that a recall of Parliament
would depend on the “timing and nature” of the response in this case.
like I said
yesterday, the Syrian crisis involves a heavy dose of British politics. If
Cameron & Co. rush ahead, then they may face even more backbench
disgruntlement when Parliament does eventually return from recess.