Hartlepool MP slams decision not to recall Parliament over Syria airstrikes

Theresa May addresses MPs
Theresa May addresses MPs

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has condemned the Prime Minister’s failure to recall Parliament before authorising air strikes in Syria.

Theresa May faced anger yesterday over her decision to give Saturday’s attack the go-ahead without recalling MPs from their Easter recess.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill

In a statement to the House of Commons, she said it was ‘Parliament’s responsibility to hold me to account,’ but insisted the attack had been ‘a limited, targeted strike on a legal basis that has been used before.’

“It was a decision that required the evaluation of intelligence and information, much of which was of a nature that could not be shared with Parliament,” she said.

“We have always been clear that the government has the right to act quickly in the national interest.”

But while accepting the Prime Minister had not overstepped her powers legally, Mike Hill said he still believed MPs should have been consulted on the decision to launch military action.

“In recent years, a clear constitutional convention has developed whereby Governments are expected to secure the express approval of the House of Commons before commencing hostile military action.”

Mike Hill MP

“I pay tribute to those armed forces personnel on the front line and completely accept that the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and criminal and needs to be stopped,” he said.

“The authority to deploy the armed forces falls under the powers of the Royal prerogative, and there is no legal requirement for the Government of the day to obtain parliamentary consent for military action.

“However, in recent years, a clear constitutional convention has developed whereby Governments are expected to secure the express approval of the House of Commons before commencing hostile military action, as seen in 2014 and 2015 in the case of air strikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

“In her statement to the House the Prime Minister said that the action taken was aimed at degrading the Assad regime’s capabilities of using chemical weapons.

“But she did not offer any evidence to show that future attacks were imminent, therefore, making it unavoidable to recall Parliament and act instantly.

“In my opinion there was time for a vote to be put to Parliament so that the voice of the people could be heard through their elected representatives.”

“Whatever people’s opinions may be on this matter, the fact remains that this action by Theresa May sets a dangerous precedence for future military interventions,” said Mr Hill.