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By a Newsnet reporter

The Coalition Government's plans to join in possible US military intervention in Syria were halted in their tracks last night, after a Government motion to take military action in Syria "if necessary" was voted down by the House of Commons.

In a humiliating blow to David Cameron's authority, Conservative and Lib Dem rebels joined with Labour, the SNP and other parties to defeat the motion by 272 votes to 285, an opposition majority of 13.

The House also rejected a Labour motion demanding "compelling evidence" before Britain could be involved in any military action, by 332 votes to 220.

The Government had already been forced to water down their proposals, by conceding to Labour demands that UK involvement would be subject to a second vote in the Commons following the conclusion of the investigation by United Nations weapons inspectors currently in progress in Damascus.  However this was not enough to bring sufficient rebel Conservative and Lib Dem MPs back on board, and the Government motion failed to carry.

After the defeat of the Government motion was announced, Mr Cameron took to the dispatch box amidst jeers from Labour and SNP MPs calling for his immediate resignation.   Calling for order, Speaker of the House John Bercow addressed one of the main ringleaders, the SNP's Angus MacNeil, saying:

"Mr MacNeil, you are like an exploded volcano, erupted, calm yourself man."

The defeat is likely to renew unease within the Conservative backbenches over Mr Cameron's leadership, with critics claiming that the episode has revealed that the Conservative leadership has badly misjudged the public mood on Syria.

Mr Cameron was asked by Labour leader Ed Miliband for an assurance that the Coalition Government would not use so-called Royal Perogative to participate in military action without consulting Parliament and called on him to give an assurance that the UK would only launch an attack upon Syria following a Commons vote.

Mr Cameron replied:

"I can give that assurance. Let me say, the House has not voted for either motion tonight.  I strongly believe in the need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons, but I also believe in respecting the will of this House of Commons.  It is very clear tonight that, while the House has not passed a motion, it is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.  I get that and the Government will act accordingly."

UK Defence Minister Philip Hammond confirmed that the UK would not be involved in any military action in Syria.  It is believed that the United States is gearing up for military intervention against the Assad regime, and may possibly take action within the next few days.

Speaking later on BBC's Newsnight, the Defence Minister said: 

"The Prime Minister is disappointed.  He has not changed his view that a robust response from the international community is necessary to try to prevent the further use of chemical weapons.  But he is absolutely clear that whatever the technicalities of the motions and amendments tonight, the mood of Parliament was that Britain should not be involved in military action and Britain will not be involved in military action."

He added that the failure of the Government to persuade the House of Commons to support military action was a "legacy experience" of the Iraq war, which had "poisoned the well" of public opinion on military intervention in the Middle East.  Mr Hammond claimed that the vote would be "welcomed" by the Assad regime.

Mr Hammond also admitted that the defeat would "place some strain" on the so-called "special relationship" between Britain and the United States.

Opinion polls show a very low level of public support for military action in Syria.  A YouGov poll for the Sun newspaper earlier this week showed that 74% were opposed to any UK involvement in the Syrian conflict.

The other likely US ally in intervention in Syria France, is also now calling for a delay in action until U.N. inspectors conclude their report.  Speaking to Bloomberg News, French Cabinet Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said, "Before acting, we need proof."

Many observers believe that the USA will now embark on unilateral action.

Comments  

 
# Breeks 2013-08-30 01:53
Good. I hope they now sit down to re-examine the damage which their pro-war enthusiasm has done, to undermine both NATO and their weapons inspectors.

We'll now have to suffer the smug hypocrisy of the Labour Party who have prevented the Tories from repeating the same sins which their own Blairite government was more than happy to commit, but I believe this is good news, not for Syria especially, that remains a murky tragedy in progress, but it is a victory for common decency and respect which common people have for the due process at the UN which should always predicate the use of force.
 
 
# Strak17 2013-08-30 04:20
Speaking later on BBC's Newsnight, the Defence Minister said:

"The Prime Minister is disappointed. He has not changed his view that a robust response from the international community is necessary to try to prevent the further use of chemical weapons. But he is absolutely clear that whatever the technicalities of the motions and amendments tonight, the mood of Parliament was that Britain should not be involved in military action and Britain will not be involved in military action."

And what's the betting he'll find a way and do it anyway?
 
 
# UpSpake 2013-08-30 05:39
Where was the voice of the Scottish Parliament in this ?. Are we not told that we have a Scottish Government which ought to be expressing a view on this on behalf of the Scottish people ?.
No war in my name Cameron and I believe if we had heard from Salmond he too would have articulated our opposition to killing people over posturing and chest beating.
Britain is no longer Great Cameron, wake up to reality.
 
 
# pinkrose 2013-08-30 07:16
Believe this is Alex Salmond's view

m.stv.tv/.../...
 
 
# nchanter 2013-08-30 11:52
Quoting UpSpake:
Where was the voice of the Scottish Parliament in this ?. Are we not told that we have a Scottish Government which ought to be expressing a view on this on behalf of the Scottish people ?.
No war in my name Cameron and I believe if we had heard from Salmond he too would have articulated our opposition to killing people over posturing and chest beating.
Britain is no longer Great Cameron, wake up to reality.

You are right upspake, it's alex Salmond's fault we don't get to murder some innocents.
 
 
# John SJ 2013-08-31 07:19
The Scottish Parliament had no voice in this matter as it is not devolved.
However if you study the vote you will see that Scottish MPs voted overwhelmingly against the motion, if the pattern had been repeated across the UK the majority would have been nearer 250.
In fact the rest of the UK MPs voted in favour of David Cameron's motion and it was the Scottish contingent that ensured its defeat.
 
 
# gus1940 2013-08-30 05:42
While I firmly believe that Assad and his regime are bad they are definitely not mad.

If one looks at the 2 sides in this tragic civil war neither of which is on the side of the angels and bears in mind Obama's previous red line statement re chemical weapons and asks the question 'Which side would be likely to benefit from an alleged use of chemical weapons?' it is difficult to see why the Syrian Government would be responsible.
 
 
# cardrossian 2013-08-30 06:45
Like most people, I was agin any action.

Then I saw the BBC report on last nights 10 o'clock news. I defy anyone who watched it not to be moved. I believe it may be shown again in Panorama

Last time under Blair we made a wrong decision, but perversely, now I fear we may have made the wrong decision again
 
 
# snowthistle 2013-08-30 06:52
I was also appalled by the images on the tv last night but we have to look at things calmly and decide whether our (or anyone else's) military intervention would make things better. Sadly looking at our recent activities, I fear not.
 
 
# John SJ 2013-08-30 06:48
After the defeat of David Cameron's motion in the vote last night the UK parliament can once again stand on its own feet, free from the "special" relationship between UK prime ministers and US presidents.
 
 
# xyz 2013-08-30 06:54
"UN Official - Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Nerve Gas Not Assad's Army" - www.youtube.com/.../

"Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Carried Out by Rebels, Says UN (UPDATE)"
guardianlv.com/.../...

So who are ~we~ going to bomb now? We gotta bomb someone.
 
 
# Soloman 2013-08-30 07:37
Don't worry, someone will stoke the fire up a bit more. The bombs will keep for another few weeks.....
 
 
# graememcallan 2013-08-30 07:22
This news just in - here's a thought - let the Islamic neighboring countries decide the correct course of action to resolve the crisis ;)
 
 
# Leader of the Pack 2013-08-30 07:32
No matter how bad things get in Syria never ever believe that any US or UK Government would intervene on humanitarian grounds. These calls for intervention are not based on humanity or concern but on pressures from unknown influences who will benefit from the removal of Assad & having Western forces again occupying an Islamic state. This is about politics power global strategy & personal interest not about helping any Syrian.
 
 
# Diabloandco 2013-08-30 08:08
It surely is a sad reflection on the intelligence of those at Westminster that their only solution to the use of chemical weapons by persons unknown is to chuck cruise missiles into the mix.

Equally the " it wiznae me, fingers in ears la- laaa-ing" about bombing to blazes Iraq and Libya , pretending that was in some way a " better" way of killing ( lets not mention depleted uranium , or agent orange, or water boarding)or Pontius Pilate like declaring Iraq to have " poisoned" the people of the UK against intervention, is utterly infantile.
 
 
# RTP 2013-08-30 08:17
I notice that Moore and Alexander voted with the Government does this mean that they are in favour of military action,have they said anything otherwise,also, J,Thurso and C Kennedy voted with them.Can we take it then that the Scottish Libs are also in favour of military action.
 
 
# Abulhaq 2013-08-30 08:20
Truth is the first casualty in conflict. We have untruth in spades here. The US drive against Iran, the Saudi and Gulf states hatred of Shi'i, their almost total control of the media the West consults as well as the vast riches they use to further their aims ensures that. The Turks and Israelis have known for some time that the "rebels" have had access to chem. weapons. It does not suit the agenda so the media do not report. The Brits still think the globe is coloured imperial red. Just wait til next year when reality really kicks in. Cameron, if he is still pm, will be eating the furniture.
 
 
# Jo Bloggs 2013-08-30 08:23
This whole debacle's like the trial in Alice in Wonderland, where the cards want the sentence before the verdict. Off with their heads, even if they're innocent. But at last some sanity, with Cameron respecting the will of the UK Parliament, in contrast to the despicable Tony Blair.
 
 
# hiorta 2013-08-30 08:37
The deliberate lies of the previous Westminster warmonger have resulted in Iraq being dowsed in depleted uranium, which will affect her future population for the unforeseeable future.
The liar is still at large.
Is it the case that Westminster politicians thankfully use Arabian people to gloss over and disguise their own political and financial disasters?
Is it not better to put their own house in humanitarian order first?
 
 
# Welsh Sion 2013-08-30 08:48
A rare example of Commons (!) Sense from Wastemonster.
 
 
# neoloon 2013-08-30 09:29
Is this the end of the unionist "argument"
that only in the union can Scotland have influence in foreign affairs?
 
 
# CathkinBraes 2013-08-30 10:23
Slight error: I think you'll find that Malcolm Bruce voted with the UK government for war in Syria. Of the Scottish LibDem MPs, Mike Crockhart (Edinburgh West) voted against.

It is now apparent from Hansard that both MPs voted against - Admin
 
 
# proudscot 2013-08-30 10:48
Typical of LibDems Alexander and Moore to vote with their Tory masters against the opinion of the majority of the Scottish population, and also I may add, the majority of the UK population.

Once again they have demonstrated the LibDem politicians' abandoning of any principles in exchange for ministerial limos.

We can expect such enthusiasm from the Tory wardogs for military involvement in other countries (especially those with oil), but it's pathetic to see their LibDem poodles trying to emulate them. Note to Moore and Alexander, poodles yap they don't bark!
 
 
# ButeHouse 2013-08-30 13:14
UpSpake, Salmond was the first leader to say NO to going to war in Syria before the UN had declared its position.

Looks like Salmond got it right again and Cameron didn't.

Which is why a growing number of those living in Scotland are happy to follow Salmond into the warm glow of Independence.

VOTE YES in 384 Days
 
 
# RTP 2013-08-30 16:20
Listening to news and reports today it seems the worry for most of the Tories how this vote reflects the standing of Britain in the rest of the world so now we know that is what the worry will be when we vote for independence as there will no longer be UK and poor Cameron and his Lib/Lab cronies will lose face.
 
 
# tarbat 2013-08-30 17:52
Given the high percentage of Scottish MPs that voted against the motion, I guess that if Scotland were already independent, the Commons vote would have gone in favour of the motion by the remaining rUK MPs, and rUK would now by launching their cruise missiles.

And why are the BBC reporting that the SNP followed Labour in voting against the motion. I'm sure the SNP MPs made up their own minds without having to follow Labour.
 
 
# bringiton 2013-08-30 18:31
Well,for once,hats off to Westminster.
I didn't believe they had the cojones to do this.
It just goes to show when people have beliefs and exercise their democratic rights then anything is possible.
However,a written constitution which only allows warlike activity to take place with a 2/3 majority of parliament agreement would have prevented all of this nonsense.
We need such a process in order to make our political leaders really think about what is the right thing to do on our behalf and not what might be agreed with other parties behind closed doors.
If the UN is to be a credible organisation then the Chinese's and Russians need to take their responsibilitie s more seriously and build meaningful relationships with many more countries.
 
 
# jdman 2013-08-31 06:11
"This news just in - here's a thought - let the Islamic neighboring countries decide the correct course of action to resolve the crisis ;)"

Finally common sense at last,
since when did we get to be the conscience of the world, there are (depending on who you ask ) between 189 and 196 countries in the world, some of them actually have a border with Syria,
can someone remind me again what give us uniquely the right/responsibility, to take this issue up with Assad?
has the world gone mad,
why are we not out on the streets demanding action from Finland on this issue, have they no heart?
 

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