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Jeremy Corbyn calls for War Powers Act after Britain joins Syria airstrikes

Jeremy Corbyn calls for War Powers Act after Britain joins Syria airstrikes

Speaking on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show, the Labour leader repeated his assertion that the bombing raids launched by the United Kingdom early on Saturday morning, in cooperation with the USA and France, may have been illegal.

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". "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".

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the air strikes were created to deter Bashar al-Assad's regime and others around the world from using chemical weapons.

Meanwhile global chemical weapons watchdog OPCW inspectors arrived in Syria Saturday and were due to try to reach the site of a suspected poison attack in the Syrian town of Douma in eastern Ghouta.

The Cabinet minister said he was "not going to rule anything in or rule anything out" about whether the Government would give MPs a vote if fresh action was taken in Syria.

During the interview, Mr Corbyn repeatedly said questions on the use of military action were the responsibility of the United Nations, despite previous Russian vetoes on Syrian action.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable demanded Parliament be recalled to vote on the crisis, telling the BBC: 'The position is a very risky one because of Russian involvement - also because we have an erratic president of the United States'.

Shadow foreign secretary Diane Abbott also warned military action could end up with the RAF inadvertently "serving as the air arm" of Jihadi extremist rebels.

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"I have urged the Prime Minister to do all she can to avoid civilian casualties given the complicated picture on the ground in Syria, and she has given me assurances in that regard".

The small Northern Irish political party that props up her government said May was justified in taking such action.

Johnson criticised Corbyn for saying he did not believe there was "incontrovertible evidence" that the Russian state was involved in the Salisbury poisoning, despite being privy to government intelligence about the case.

The group said it "strongly condemned" the action and accused May of "sanctioning killing" at US President Donald Trump's behest.

The government said it is "highly likely" that Assad is responsible for the Douma attack, with ministers agreeing "it was vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged".

MPs are due to return to Westminster from the Easter recess on Monday - and a row is continuing between some MPs over whether a vote should take place in Parliament before any action is taken. French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday France has "proof" Assad had used chemical weapons and was working closely with the US on a possible response.

Q&A What are the military options in Syria?