Thursday, 29 August 2013

Reaction to the Syrian votes

The line taken by the presenter (Roger Hearing, I think) of The World Tonight tonight was that the defeat of both the Labour amendment and the coalition's substantive motion was that it left the UK's position unclear and that we had let down President Obama. The implication was that the USA could no longer trust the prime minister of the UK to deliver on his promises.

To me, the decision of the house was not ambiguous, though the majority against the second vote was narrow. Both motions approved the use of military action against Syria in principle, and this was what the House rejected. Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour's spokesman on transport until today, was in no doubt.

As to the democratic rejection of the prime minister's stance, it may be rare in Westminster, but the US presidency is well used to agreements reached in international conferences being rejected by Congress, from world trade to the international criminal court.

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