In some respects, the decision to recall Parliament to approve what David Cameron calls a “clear motion” authorising action in Syria is unsurprising. William Hague promised the Andrew Marr show on 9 June that any intervention would be signed off by MPs. The government would have struggled to back down from Hague’s unambiguous statement without suffering considerable political opprobrium. At the same time, it is hugely significant. Through debates and substantive votes over the Iraq war, the Libyan intervention, and now Syria Parliament has gradually gained a conventional right to veto the international use of force. The power, previously part of the royal prerogative and reserved to the Prime Minister, has been gradually given away and ultimately yoked to parliamentary support. No future leader will be able to row back from precedents set in 2003, 2011, and 2013. Against the weight of convention now established, the absence of a formal change in the law remains odd but insignificant. MPs will always get a vote in future. The government retains only the freedom to decide the timing.
- Douglas Alexander warns Cameron: a vote must be held on Syria and Labour could oppose the government (newstatesman.com)
- Pressure grows for recall of Parliament on Syria (blogs.spectator.co.uk)
- Selling Syria (drjamesstrong.wordpress.com)
- Douglas Alexander: Labour won’t give Cameron a ‘blank cheque’ to intervene in Syria (telegraph.co.uk)
- MPs set to return to debate Syrian intervention (theguardian.com)