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Sturgeon: Foreign policy should be set by Parliament not US President

Scotland’s First Minister said she was not persuaded that air strikes would resolve the Syria conflict.

Nicola Sturgeon visit to China
Nicola Sturgeon visit to China

Nicola Sturgeon has said UK foreign policy should be set by Parliament and not Donald Trump after the US, UK and France launched missile strikes against Syria.

Scotland’s First Minister said the suspected use of chemical weapons in Douma last week was “sickening” but warned that the latest action risked “dangerous escalation”.

Writing on Twitter, she said her first thoughts were with service personnel taking part in the strikes, which targeted infrastructure at three sites connected with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons programme.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Syria’s use of chemical weapons is sickening – but the question that the PM has not answered is how this action, taken without parliamentary approval, will halt their use or bring long-term peace.

“Air strikes have not resolved situation in Syria so far – nothing I’ve heard persuades me they will do so now.

“An international strategy for peace must be pursued – not a course that risks dangerous escalation.

“UK foreign policy should be set by Parliament, not US President.”

SNP defence spokesman Stewart McDonald said UK forces were engaged in “gesture bombing with no major international consensus and no long term plan to halt the use of chemical weapons or deliver peace”.

He wrote on Twitter: “Most worrying is that she has acted at the behest of presidential tweets and sidelined Parliament.

“What does this new bombing campaign do to help move Syria towards peace? Nothing.

“Instead, it has the potential to dangerously complicate the war, making matters on the ground worse for the people that the strikes are supposed to help. There is no peace strategy.

“This is not a brave or strong decision by the Prime Minister.”

Writing on Twitter, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “I support the targeted air strikes by the UK, US and France against the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities.

“As the head of NATO has stated this morning, the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and those responsible must be held accountable.”

The Church of Scotland expressed “deep concern” over the decision to launch air strikes.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Kirk’s church and society council, said: “Our firm belief is that air strikes will not improve this situation, but will lead to further loss of lives, displacement, suffering and fear.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “Political avenues should be exhausted before such a serious step is ever taken, yet the Prime Minister has been rushed into legally, morally and democratically questionable air strikes at the behest of Donald Trump.

“Britain should be taking a lead role in negotiating an end to the Syrian conflict and halting the abhorrent use of chemical weapons, rather than putting more innocent civilians at risk, and British military personnel too.”

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP said: “There is no credible basis for believing a wave of air strikes will make the people of Syria safer. It’s easy to condemn the Assad regime and Russia but the history of UK and US military intervention shows the huge danger that we make matters worse, not better.

“If the West was serious about moving towards a just peace in Syria, we should impose sweeping sanctions on Russia, Iran and their financial activities particularly in the City of London. Without forcing a change in their role, ending Assad’s brutality will be all but impossible.

“It is disturbing that Theresa May’s government is so weak and so unwilling to answer to parliament or to the people that they allowed a delusional US President to announce an action involving UK forces and on a timescale which made parliamentary scrutiny here impossible.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph