North West London
financial sanctions against individuals implicated in human rights abuses. He faced heckling from the Conservative benches when he said that there had been more than £800,000 of donations to the Conservative Party from Russian oligarchs and their associates. Mr Corbyn’s response produced a stream of criticism from the Labour MPs behind him. One, John Woodcock, said that uK national security would
be at risk if the country were led by anyone who did not understand the gravity of the Russian threat. The Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, demanded a robust response: “firm and strong action must be taken to send a clear message to the Kremlin that we will not accept Russian interference in our democracy or in our way of life.” and children gasping for their lives as chemicals choked their lungs.” Such an atrocity was “a stain on our humanity,” she added. She did not believe that evidence on the scale available could be falsified, and she said that the Syrian regime was seeking to cover up the atrocity by searching refugees, in case they tried to smuggle out samples of the chemicals that had been used – it was clear that only President Assad’s regime had the capability to carry out such an attack. The prime minister also defended the legality of the uK action: Russia had blocked a uN resolution to establish an independent investigation into the latest attack. She said that to argue that the uK could only act with a uN resolution was to accept a Russian veto on British foreign policy. She said that military action was justified to prevent further gas attacks – there was no alternative course of action and the attacks were necessary and proportionate. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded that the prime minister was accountable to parliament, not to the uS president, and added that Britain needed a War Powers Act to transform what he called a “now broken convention” into a legal obligation.
Airstrikes on Syria
People marching against the Assad regime in London
When the prime minister ordered British forces to take part in airstrikes against chemical weapons held by the Assad regime in Syria, she came to the Commons after the Easter recess to defend her decision – and ran into criticism for not seeking parliamentary approval in advance. She said that the attack was a response to the use of chemical weapons by pro-Assad forces, which had left up to 75 people dead. She said that the images of the suffering were “utterly haunting: innocent families seeking shelter in underground bunkers found dead with foam in their mouths, burns to their eyes and their bodies surrounded by a chlorine-like odour,
63 REVIEW OF PARLIAMENT |
Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter