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Statement on Military strikes in Syria

I thank all those who have contacted me on the bombing of Syria.

The civil war in Syria is horrendous. However, I am of the firm opinion that the Prime Minister should not have side-lined Parliament and participated along with France in the United States-led military strikes on Syria.

It has been the recent convention for the Prime Minister to seek parliamentary approval prior to military action. I accept that the Prime Minister does have the right to use the royal prerogative, nevertheless, I feel this should be limited. I do not feel our country was in immediate danger and that on this occasion there was adequate time for her to consult Parliament.

The use of chemical weapons is illegal, abhorrent and goes against international conventions implemented by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Indeed, the OPCW was due to begin its investigation in Syria on April 15th. It would have been logical for them to conclude and report on their independent findings before the international community considered any action via the UN.

We need a considered response to such serious matters and it is disturbing that the US President makes announcements about bombing Syria on social media and that our Prime Minister seems to have been bounced into supporting France and the US in air strikes.

The situation in Syria and the Middle East is complex and fragile, the international community & the UN need to do more to work for peace in the region. The international convention on chemical weapons also needs strengthening.

I welcome the reports that France, supported by the UK and US are now seeking a new UN resolution and to engage in serious negotiations on chemical weapons in Syria. Frankly, this should have happened before military action and our sovereign parliament should be consulted.

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