I woke up this morning to the overnight news that the UK had taken part in air strikes in Syria alongside the USA and France.
I believe this action is illegal under international law. It has not been requested by the Syrian Government. There is no UN Security Resolution authorising it. It is not an act of self-defence. Those are the only three exemptions under the UN Charter which would permit the UK Government to take this action. None of them apply.
We cannot pick and choose when to comply with international law and if we undertake illegal action we cannot with any credibility then criticise other countries that act illegally. UK foreign and defence policy should be legal, consistent and accountable.
The Prime Minister should not have taken this step without Parliamentary approval. Our constituents elect us to take exactly this type of decision on their behalf after considered debate on the evidence and through a vote. Theresa May does not even have a majority government and there should have been a vote. Parliament could have been recalled at any point in the last week for this. The Prime Minister chose not to because it is likely she would have lost the vote.
The basis for these air strikes was that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its own people. Evidenced use of such weapons is illegal and deplorable. Today, chemical weapons inspectors were due to start their investigations. The overnight air strikes are likely to have jeopardised those investigations by destroying evidence.
I voted against air strikes against Syria previously. I would have voted against air strikes this time too, largely for the same reasons, some of which I have outlined above.
This action substantially risks escalating tensions in the region and the likelihood of further civilian deaths. We had no long term strategy explained to us in 2015 for air strikes and no long term strategy set out this year either. Resolving the Syrian conflict needs leadership and international political strategy. Theresa May has shown neither.