POLITICS
11/04/2018 13:04 BST | Updated 11/04/2018 18:54 BST

Leading MP Sarah Wollaston Backs Bombing Syria – After Opposing Strike In 2013

She was one of 30 Tories to vote against military action five years ago.

Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images

One of Parliament’s most powerful backbenchers is backing Theresa May to take military action against the Syrian government without consulting parliament.

Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, who leads questioning of the Prime Minister as chair of the Liaison Committee, told HuffPost UK May could authorise UK involvement in the bombing of Syrian targets without getting permission from MPs.

Wollaston was one of 30 Tory MPs to vote down UK military action against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in 2013, but following the recent chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Douma said she now believes a response is needed.

Her comments came as US President Donald Trump warned Russia that missiles “will be coming” to Syria, while Theresa May said the “continued use of chemical weapons cannot go unchallenged”.

The PM added that Britain will work with its “closest allies” to see how those responsible for the latest attack in Syria can be held to account.

Writing on Twitter, Wollaston said: “I did not support military action in the past but chemical weapons are now being used with impunity, including here in UK. It is time to act to stop the use of these horrific weapons.

“The history of military action in the region means that @theresa_may is right to be cautious but that history also demonstrates that inaction has consequences too.”

Speaking to HuffPost UK, Wollaston was asked if she thought Parliament should get a vote on any military action.

“I would be happy for Parliament to be recalled but the PM does have the option to go ahead without this,” she replied. 

Of the 30 Tories who joined with Labour to vote down military action in 2013, 23 are still MPs.

Four of them are now in the Government: Brexit Secretary David Davis, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, Brexit Minister Steve Baker, and Justice Minister Phillip Lee.

Another 2013 rebel, Dr Julian Lewis, has spoken out against the dangers of relying solely on an aerial bombing campaign to attack Al-Assad.

Speaking on BBC2′s Newsnight on Tuesday, the chair of Parliament’s Defence Select Committee said: “Airstrikes can only be effective when they are in support of ground troops.”

He added: “What we’ve got here in Syria is a choice between monsters on the one hand and maniacs on the other, and it is absolutely untrue to say that apart from the Kurdish-led forces, the Salafists and the Jihadists are not in control of the opposition groups.

“They are and we will be helping al Qaida if we help them to do a sustained military campaign against the brutal Assad regime.”