Syria and the Use of Chemical Weapons — 29 Aug 2013 at 21:41
The majority of MPs rejected a motion moved following the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria that stated a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action. The rejected motion noted: "before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place".
MPs were recalled to the House of Commons from their summer recess to debate the motion.
The text of the motion, moved by the Prime Minister, which was rejected by the majority of MPs was:
- That this House:
- Deplores the use of chemical weapons in Syria on 21 August 2013 by the Assad regime, which caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries of Syrian civilians;
- Recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons under international law;
- Agrees that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria’s chemical weapons;
- Notes the failure of the United Nations Security Council over the last two years to take united action in response to the Syrian crisis;
- Notes that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime under customary law and a crime against humanity, and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action;
- Notes the wide international support for such a response, including the statement from the Arab League on 27 August which calls on the international community, represented in the United Nations Security Council, to “overcome internal disagreements and take action against those who committed this crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible”;
- Believes, in spite of the difficulties at the United Nations, that a United Nations process must be followed as far as possible to ensure the maximum legitimacy for any such action;
- Therefore welcomes the work of the United Nations investigating team currently in Damascus, and, whilst noting that the team’s mandate is to confirm whether chemical weapons were used and not to apportion blame, agrees that the United Nations Secretary General should ensure a briefing to the United Nations Security Council immediately upon the completion of the team’s initial mission;
- Believes that the United Nations Security Council must have the opportunity immediately to consider that briefing and that every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken, and
- notes that before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place; and
- ''Notes that this Resolution relates solely to efforts to alleviate humanitarian suffering by deterring use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any action in Syria with wider objectives.
Following the vote the Prime Minister stated:
- It is very clear tonight that, while the House has not passed a motion, the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the Government will act accordingly.
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||30||239 (+2 tell)||1||89.2%|
|Lab||221 (+2 tell)||0||0||86.4%|