Cameron rules out Syria strikes after Commons defeat
Prime minister David Cameron faced a humiliation last night as a government motion on intervention in Syria was defeated in the House of Commons. Earlier this week, Cameron had issued an emergency recall of parliament in light of the alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.
The government motion had already been watered down in response to opposition concerns and huge public opinion against any action. Late adjustments included giving more time to UN weapons inspectors and a second parliamentary vote before any military
action was taken, therefore MPs were only voting on the principle of military intervention as a response to a “crime against humanity” by the Assad regime.
Despite the motion being significantly softened, it was still defeated by 13 votes in the House of Commons, with as many as 30 Tory MPs rebelling against the Government. Education secretary, Michael Gove reportedly raved at the dissenting MPs, calling them “traitors” and a “disgrace”.
Opposition leader Ed Miliband pressed the prime minister on whether he would use the royal prerogative to sidestep the vote to which Cameron replied: “It is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the Government will act accordingly”.
The defeat is truly historic and marks the first time since 1782 that a sitting government has been defeated in the House of Commons on an issue of war and peace. The manner of the defeat will now raise serious questions about Cameron’s leadership and could have grave political ramifications for the Government.