POLITICS
02/09/2013 06:55 BST | Updated 02/09/2013 07:27 BST

Nick Clegg Rules Out Second Vote On Military Action In Syria

Nick Clegg has said there will not be a second vote on military action in Syria, arguing we cannot "keep asking the same question of Parliament again and again."

The Deputy Prime Minister today spoke after London Mayor Boris Johnson contrastingly said fresh evidence against the Assad regime could allow the Government to go back to Parliament.

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Nick Clegg has said there will not be a second vote on military action in Syria

Prime Minister David Cameron ruled out the use of British force following a humiliating defeat in the Commons last week.

But the prospect of Parliament revisiting the issue was raised following US president Barack Obama's announcement on Saturday that he is seeking congressional support for a punishment strike.

However, Mr Clegg, who was in favour of military action in Syria, said the Government "respects the will of Parliament" and would not return for a second vote.

"We're not going to keep asking the same question of Parliament again and again," he said.

"We live in a democracy, the executive cannot act in a way which clearly is not welcome to Parliament or the British people, so we're not proposing to do so."

He added: "I can't foresee any circumstances that we would go back to Parliament on the same question, on the same issue."

Mr Clegg said he remained convinced the Assad regime was responsible for the attack and said intervention, in his opinion, may still be necessary.

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Asked if Mr Cameron was wrong to rule out military action in Syria before all the evidence was available, Mr Clegg said: "Myself and the Prime Minister, we were and still are completely convinced it was Assad's regime that used chemical weapons in that eastern suburb of Damascus the week before last.

"We don't need any further persuading of that, but we accept that others might. We put our case as best we could."

He said: "I personally think there's a case for Britain, on humanitarian grounds, to participate in deterrent action to stop the further use of these abhorrent and illegal weapons.

"But Parliament didn't agree."

However, Mr Johnson has become the latest figure to suggest that British forces could still be deployed, insisting there was "no reason" why a renewed bid for parliamentary support could not still be made.

"If there is new and better evidence that inculpates Assad, I see no reason why the Government should not lay a new motion before Parliament, inviting British participation - and then it is Ed Miliband, not David Cameron, who will face embarrassment.

"The Labour leader has been capering around pretending to have stopped an attack on Syria - when his real position has been more weaselly.

"If you add the Tories and Blairites together, there is a natural majority for a calibrated and limited response to a grotesque war crime," he said today, writing for The Telegraph.

Mr Clegg also accused Labour of using last week's House of Commons vote to score "party political points", after the Government was defeated.

He said: "I don't think anyone should pretend that deciding to enter into military action to deter the further use of chemical weapons is simple. It's not simple, it's not straightforward.

"My own view is that the Labour Party seemed to take this as an opportunity to score party political points as much as rise to the challenge and the gravity of the issue.