Nicola Sturgeon condemns lack of Commons vote on Syria air strike

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
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Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the UK Government’s decision to launch missile attacks on Syria without the backing of parliament.

The First Minister called for “an international strategy for peace” and “not a course that risks dangerous escalation”.

It was announced in the early hours of Saturday morning the US, UK and France had launched air strikes in response to the suspected chemical weapons attack in Douma a week ago.

Theresa May said there was “no practicable alternative to the use of force”.

But in a tweet, Ms Sturgeon said: “Air strikes have not resolved situation in Syria so far - nothing I’ve heard persuades me they will do so now. An international strategy for peace must be pursued - not a course that risks dangerous escalation. UK foreign policy should be set by Parliament, not US President.”

READ MORE: UK joins US and France in launching missile attack on Syria

She added: “My first thoughts this morning are with service personnel called to action. Syria’s use of chemical weapons is sickening - but the question that the PM has not answered is how this action, taken without parliamentary approval, will halt their use or bring long term peace.”

The Nationalist leader at Westminster today lodged a motion pressing for an emergency debate on UK involvement in Syria.

Ian Blackford said a simple statement from the Prime Minister would not be acceptable and that there must be no further use of UK forces in Syria without a vote.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber 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.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said polticial avenues should have been exausted before such a “serious step” was taken.

“Just two days ago Theresa May met with her Cabinet to discuss Syria – today we wake to the news that she has been led by Donald Trump into air strikes, dangerously escalating an already devastating conflict,” he said.

“Despite having no majority, there has been no consultation with Parliament on any military action, and no agreement with the UN.

“Political avenues should be exhausted before such a serious step is ever taken, yet the Prime Minister has been rushed into legally, morally and democratically questionable air strikes at the behest of Donald Trump.

“Britain should be taking a lead role in negotiating an end to the Syrian conflict and halting the abhorrent use of chemical weapons, rather than putting more innocent civilians at risk, and British military personnel too.

“The government must do all in its power to secure agreement from Russia and the US to an independent UN investigation of the chemical weapons attack, so that those who are responsible can be held to account properly.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson backed the air strikes, saying they had the support of both the EU and NATO.

She said: “Last night’s air strikes were targeted at the Syrian regime’s chemical weapon facilities and in direct response to the chemical attack on Syria’s civilian population in Douma last week.

“While carried out by UK, US and French military personnel, the strikes have the express support of the EU and NATO, as well as the governments of Canada, Australia and Germany, among others.

“The international community recognises that chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity, and that last night’s targeted action will degrade the ability of the Assad regime to further develop and deploy chemical weapons in future.”