The view from Westminster: Brendan O’Hara MP

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There has only been one item on the Westminster agenda this week and that has been the decision by the Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May to join the USA and France in bombing raids on Syria, without consulting MPs.

Immediately after last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on the people of Douma, President Donald Trump tweeted the Syrian dictator and his Russian allies that: ‘nice, new and smart’ missiles were headed their way.

At that point I believe it was incumbent on the Prime Minister to immediately recall parliament from its Easter Recess.

To seek a mandate for a course of action that could potentially have put the UK and it’s armed forces at the centre of what was an already chaotic, bloody and destructive war.

She chose not to and I think that was a fundamental error of judgement on her part.

Her argument seems to centre upon the fact that decisive action was required and that time was of the essence. But the UK was not under immediate threat.

Our armed forces were not in imminent danger of attack. The Prime Minister had plenty of time to either recall Parliament or if she wanted, or wait until MPs returned to Westminster on Monday.

Her unseemly haste to sanction air-strikes smacks to me of a desperation to curry favour with Donald Trump rather than seeking a mandate from parliament; a practice that has become customary in recent decades.

It is difficult to be certain how the vote would have gone had MPs been allowed a say but I can confirm that me and my SNP colleagues would not have supported this action.

Let me be absolutely clear, the SNP unequivocally condemns the use of any chemical weapons and they must never be normalised as a weapon of war.

They are barbaric and those who use them should be branded as being the war criminal that they are.

But as the Foreign Secretary said on Sunday, these air-strikes were never intended to overthrow the Assad regime, nor were they designed to bring closer a peaceful solution to this awful war.

This was in reality, ‘gesture bombing;’ essentially dropping bombs on a country without any clear, strategic plan to secure a long-last and just peace for the beleaguered people of Syria.

In following Donald Trump into this conflict, Theresa May risked escalating an already extremely complex and dangerous situation.

The UK’s armed forces could have been dragged into an already massively overcrowded theatre of war.

Syria needs people to help find a path to peace. It certainly does not need another belligerent.