LONDON (AFP): British Prime Minister Theresa May faced a backlash from the domestic opposition after launching military strikes Saturday on Syria without consulting parliament. As the Conservative leader explained her rationale for the airstrikes, opposition parties claimed the attacks were legally dubious, risked escalating conflict and should have been approved by lawmakers. The shadow of the 2003 invasion of Iraq still lingers in the corridors of Britain’s parliament, when MPs backed then-prime minister Tony Blair in joining US military action.
“Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace,” said Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran leftist leader of the main opposition Labour Party. “This legally questionable action risks escalating further… an already devastating conflict. “Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump.” Stop the War, a pacifist coalition once chaired by Corbyn, has called a demonstration outside the British parliament on Monday to protest the strikes.
The group said it “strongly condemned” the action and accused May of “sanctioning killing” at US President Donald Trump’s behest. Often when the British government decides on military action, the opposition offers its full support. However, that has been less the case in recent years. British MPs voted down taking military action against Damascus in 2013, in what was widely viewed as an assertion of parliamentary sovereignty on the use of force.