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Shropshire Star comment: Syria air strikes won't be PM's last big choice

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

When Theresa May took the decision to join the United States and France in launching air strikes against Syria she did so because, she says, it was necessary to "alleviate further humanitarian suffering".

Under pressure - Theresa May

Mrs May was also seeking to send a clear message to Syria's government that the international community would not stand by idly while its rules were breached.

"It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria - and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used," she said yesterday.

Her predecessor, David Cameron, took the issue parliament in 2013 and was defeated. In authorising the strikes while MPs were away, Mrs May avoided that outcome.

And yet this is a hugely emotive and divisive issue.

For some people, it is absolutely right that we should not stand by as other regimes commits appalling acts of violence against their own people.

For others, perhaps thinking back to previous interventions, the prospect of interfering is too problematic – at least without first winning the support of parliament.

Whatever point of view you take, the issue of military intervention is back in the spotlight, with Mrs May facing criticism from some MPs about going ahead with the action without consulting parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn has even called for a War Powers Act, to give Parliament greater powers over military interventions.

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While considering the arguments, we must maintain a sense of perspective. This was not an all-out assault nor a prelude to a ground war. It was a limited, targeted strike to stop a rogue state from committing further atrocities and breaking additional laws.

For some, however, taking this action without consulting MPs was a step too far.

Indeed, Shrewsbury's Daniel Kawczynski was among those to call for a parliamentary vote before any military intervention.

The abiding impression is that Mrs May did what she thought was in the national interest to prevent an evil dictator from maiming more innocent victims.

It is undoubtedly an important moment not just for international politics, but for Mrs May too – and given the rising tensions globally, it may not be the last difficult decision she has to make.

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