Cross Party consensus on Syria

Below is a link to Ed Miliband’s speech in last week’s debate. You can also read the text of the Labour amendment here. I say “Labour amendment” because that is how it was phrased by the media. But actually the amendment was proposed by the Leaders of the SNP and Plaid Cymru as well as Labour. I was pleased to see that the put the effort into ensuring cross-party co-operation.

Had David Cameron been willing to listen and accept this amendment, he wouldn’t have been humiliated and the Commons would have agreed a clear, principled position. Cameron’s problem is that he thinks “cross-party consensus” means “everyone agreeing with me”. If you genuinely want a consensus, you have to listen to the other side too.

As is made clear in today’s BBC poll, three quarters of the public agree that MPs were right to stop military action. David Cameron had already had to accept that there wasn’t support in Parliament for authorising military action before hearing from UN inspectors (the reason he had recalled Parliament). It would have been better to agree a positive statement with the majority of MPs instead of trying to get his own way at the cost of losing completely.


2 thoughts on “Cross Party consensus on Syria

  1. “MPs were right to stop military action.” – So our parliament is now seen to be as effective as the United Nations; Lots of talk while innocent women and children are cruelly slaughtered by a chemical agent knowingly stored and likely used by a dictator. Future use of this chemical agent will be deemed not to be Labour’s problem presumably?

    • Read the text of the amendment – that is not what it says at all. Specifically it condemns the use of chemical weapons and says any action taken in response must “have regard to the potential consequences in the region, and must therefore be legal, proportionate, time-limited and have precise and achievable objectives designed to deter the future use of prohibited chemical weapons in Syria”.

      It is the Prime Minister who, having failed to secure Parliamentary approval for his chosen form of words, has ruled out any military action in future.

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