Jeremy Corbyn has called for a war powers act to give the British parliament more scrutiny over military action following the bombing campaign in Syria.
Appearing on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, the British Labour leader questioned the legal basis for the UK joining the US and France in airstrikes in response to the chemical weapons attack in Douma. Mr Corbyn said Parliament should have been given a vote ahead of the strikes.
“I think what we need in this country is something more robust like a War Powers Act so that governments do get held to account by Parliament for what they do in our name.” The Labour leader warned of an escalation in a “proxy war” between the US and Russia.
He said chlorine has been used by “a number of parties in the conflict” in Syria as a weapon. Mr Corbyn said that if Britain wants to “get the moral high ground around the world” it must abide by international law for taking military action.
“Where is the legal basis for this?” he said.
The US has warned it is “locked and loaded” if Syria carries out fresh attacks on its people.
Mr Corbyn said: “President Trump has a way with words, that’s for sure. I hope it’s just exaggeration on his part.”
Asked if he would order military action in any circumstances if he was prime minister, the Labour leader replied: “No-one would ever say never.” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said “finally the world has said enough is enough” as he defended the “proportionate” action.
He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “There is no proposal on the table at the moment for further attacks because so far – thank heavens – the Assad regime has not been so foolish to launch another chemical weapons attack.”
Mr Johnson added: “If and when such a thing were to happen then clearly, with allies, we would study what the options were.” Asked if there were any circumstances in which he would back air strikes in Syria, Mr Corbyn replied: “I can only countenance involvement in Syria if there is a UN authority behind it.
“If we could get to a process in the UN where you get to a ceasefire, you get to a political solution, you then may well get to a situation where there could be a UN force established to enforce that ceasefire.
“That surely would save a lot of lives.”