POLITICS

David Cameron Fumes At Ed Miliband 'Wriggling And Quibbling' Over Syria Vote

09/09/2013 16:33 BST | Updated 09/09/2013 17:23 BST
PA
Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a debate on Syria in the House of Commons, central London.

David Cameron has accused Ed Miliband of playing politics by voting against military action in Syria, as he told MPs he had "absolutely no plans" to hold a second vote.

Speaking to in the Commons on Monday, the prime minister was unable to contain his disdain for Miliband's decision to block military action against the Syrian regime, arguing he had "included everything his front bench wanted" in the motion the government put to MPs.

"The fact they didn't vote for it shows they are not serious about this issue, they are serious about political positioning," he said.

Cameron added: "They are wriggling and quibbling on the Opposition front bench, they could have done the difficult thing and right thing for the country, instead they chose the easy and simple thing that was politically convenient."

The prime minister also revealed he had "a few questions about what happened in the House of Commons" from foreign leaders but added that "some manoeuvres get lost in translation".

Cameron also said he had "absolutely no plans to bring a vote back to the House of Commons" in order to try and overturn the first vote ten days ago.

Britain will continue to "work closely" with the USA on finding a solution to the civil war in Syria, despite Parliament's vote against joining President Barack Obama in military action, William Hague said today.

Hague was speaking after talks at the Foreign Office in London with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the end of his whirlwind tour of Europe to drum up support for punitive action against the regime of President Bashar Assad for its use of chemical weapons on civilians in a suburb of Damascus last month.

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Kerry insisted at a press conference in London this morning that Britain's decision not to join the US in military strikes would not damage the special relationship between the countries, insisting that Washington had "no better partner" than the UK.

Kerry also said president Obama's decision to put military action to a vote in congress was one "based on his gut" and was made "notwithstanding" the vote in the British parliament. "I can't tell you if a vote [in Britain] had been different the president would have made a different decision at all," he said.

And he refused to be drawn on the suggestion that Obama may choose to take military action even if congress votes against the move.

Obama faces an uphill battle to convince members of the House of Representatives to vote in favour of military strikes - amid fears the US could be sucked into another protracted war in the Middle East. Something Kerry was at pains to play down.

"We are not going to war," Kerry said. We will be able to hold Bashar Assad accountable without engaging with troops on the ground. In a very limited very targeted very short term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria's civil war."

He added: "That is exactly what we are talking about doing, unbelievably small limited kind of effort."