Saturday, April 14, 2018

George Eaton — Theresa May’s decision to take military action against Syria without a vote could cost her

As I explainedearlier this week, under the Royal Prerogative, the Prime Minister can approve any military action without a prior parliamentary vote or debate (as David Cameron did in Libya in 2011). On matters of war, Britain’s parliament is one of the weakest in the democratic world.
But May’s decision is immensely politically contentious. Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and some Tory MPs are furious that she failed to consult parliament. Only 22 per cent of the British public, according to this week’s YouGov poll, support military action. May has joined forces with Donald Trump, the most erratic and unpopular US president in recent history, and reportedly backed swift strikes in order to evade parliamentary scrutiny (MPs return from the Spring recess on Monday)....
The irony is that May would likely have won a parliamentary vote on the issue. A significant number of Conservative and Labour MPs now regret not supporting military action in 2013. But after Cameron's humiliation over Syria, May was not prepared to risk becoming only the second prime minister since 1782 to lose a vote on a matter of war and peace. The government may seek - and win - retrospective approval, as Cameron did over Libya in 2011 (though May has given no signal so far). But having acted without a democratic mandate, the legitimacy of British action will be permanently questioned.
With only 22% approval, many MP's would likely think twice before giving retroactive approval after the fact.

George Eaton | Editor

1 comment:

Kaivey said...

And get Boris out too. In fact, a prison sentence.