Bridgen, Wollaston and Stewart among the Tory MPs pushing for Parliament to have a say in any Syria action
By Peter Hoskin
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It’s no surprise that Tory MPs are joining Douglas Alexander in seeking a recall of Parliament ahead of any military action in Syria. After all, 81 of them signed a letter to David Cameron in June, demanding a vote on any decision to dispatch British arms to the rebels.
And it’s also no surprise that the author of that letter, Andrew Bridgen, is among the most insistent voices this time around, now that missiles appear poised to strike at Assad. “We need to recall Parliament immediately, if that’s what’s on the table,” is how he put it on the radio yesterday. “I want to hear what the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary has to say at the despatch box.”
The backbenchers’ concerns seem to be about parliamentary sovereignty, or about the wisdom of military action in Syria, or both. Quite a few are voicing the point made by Wollaston this morning: that the Government needs to act swiftly when Britain’s national security is threatened; but that Britain’s national security isn’t threatened in this instance.
As for what the Government is saying, William Hague told this morning’s edition of the Today Programme that the Coalition has a “good record” when it comes to consulting MPs on matters military – but he added that a recall of Parliament would depend on the “timing and nature” of the response in this case.
It’s like I said yesterday, the Syrian crisis involves a heavy dose of British politics. If Cameron & Co. rush ahead, then they may face even more backbench disgruntlement when Parliament does eventually return from recess.