Syria bombing: Jeremy Corbyn calls for War Powers Act to limit Government’s ability to launch air strikes without asking MPs first

Labour leader questions legal basis for strikes and says act needed to hold governments to account

Jeremy Corbyn has questioned whether humanitarian intervention can ever be a legal justification for launching military action, and called for a “war powers act” that would force future UK governments to seek approval from parliament.

Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, the Labour leader repeated his assertion that the bombing raids launched by the UK early on Saturday morning, in cooperation with the US and France, may have been illegal.

Mr Corbyn said Parliament should have been given a vote ahead of the strikes. “I think what we need in this country is something more robust like a War Powers Act so that governments do get held to account by Parliament for what they do in our name.”

The Labour leader warned of an escalation in a “proxy war” between the US and Russia.

He said chlorine has been used by “a number of parties in the conflict” in Syria as a weapon.

Mr Corbyn said that if Britain wants to “get the moral high ground around the world” it must abide by international law for taking military action.

“Where is the legal basis for this?” he said.

Boris Johnson said “finally the world has said enough is enough” as he defended the “proportionate” action.

He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “There is no proposal on the table at the moment for further attacks because so far – thank heavens – the Assad regime has not been so foolish to launch another chemical weapons attack.”

Mr Johnson added: “If and when such a thing were to happen then clearly, with allies, we would study what the options were.”

The Foreign Secretary, on whether the Government was seeking to avoid a Commons vote, said: “I don’t believe that can be sustained at all.”

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