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16 Apr, 2018 11:32

‘UK govt can’t demonstrate convincing evidence’ – Labour’s Chakrabarti questions Syria strikes

‘UK govt can’t demonstrate convincing evidence’ – Labour’s Chakrabarti questions Syria strikes

Labour Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti says Theresa May was wrong to launch military intervention in Syria, rejecting the government’s argument that the airstrikes were legally justified on humanitarian grounds.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Chakrabarti said that the government’s arguments for the legal justification for airstrikes carried out in the early hours of Saturday did not pass “the tests it set for itself.”

"You can’t use force under international law just to punish Syria for bad behavior,” Chakrabarti said. “You have to actually be using urgent, necessary and proportionate force. And you have to do it with the will of the world behind you.”

Chakrabarti added that “the government has not passed the tests it set for itself. I don’t think that the government can demonstrate convincing evidence, and a general acceptance by the international community that they had to act in the way they did a few days ago."

Chakrabarti on the Today program said that she has found it hard to understand how there was “no practical alternative to this particular strike,” especially “when the chemical weapons inspectors were on their way in."

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were expected to begin investigations into the alleged chemical weapons attack on Saturday, hours after joint military action had been conducted.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to apply for an emergency Commons debate on the joint mission carried out by the US, Britain and France, in response to the recent alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.

May has faced criticism from MPs across the House of Commons for not asking for parliamentary approval before Saturday’s airstrikes on alleged chemical and military facilities.

READ MORE: Syria strikes: Evidence and democracy are such nuisances when there are missiles to launch

Chakrabarti suggests the PM chose not to recall Parliament because she was afraid of losing such a critical vote, saying: “I think that Parliament should have been recalled before the strike. Some people will suspect that that didn’t happen because of governmental concerns that they couldn’t get the vote in Parliament. And that to me is not a good enough reason.”

It has been reported that Tory MPs have been put on a three-line whip to attend Parliament on Tuesday, suggesting that any debate on military action could lead to a vote – albeit non-binding, but nonetheless potentially harmful to May’s authority if she were to lose.

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