William Hague has said David Cameron probably made a “mistake” when he decided to give parliament a vote on launching military strikes against Syria in 2013 - a vote he lost.
The former foreign secretary said on Tuesday morning the opponents of using force would always find it easier to depict any military action as the “start of a whole new war” - while government’s would struggle to defend their plan without revealing the strategy to the enemy.
Jeremy Corbyn has secured a debate in the Commons today on Theresa May’s decision not to ask parliament to approve the military strikes against the Assad regime that took place over the weekend.
The Labour leader has called for a new War Powers act that would transfer the authority to take military action from the prime minister to parliament.
In 2011, Hague famously said the then coalition government intended to give parliament the power to veto military action.
As MPs debate the deployment of British forces over Libya, he told the Commons: “We will also enshrine in law for the future the necessity of consulting Parliament on military action.”
However the government then backtracked on the plan after Hague became convinced it was not practical.
Critics of the idea of giving parliament the legal authority to approve or veto military action worry that it would lead to delays in deployment that could prove militarily costly and damage the effectiveness of the mission.
Speaking about the decision to ask parliament to approve military action against Syria in 2013, Hague told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning: “We quite possibly made a mistake when we did that.”
He said: “The opponents of military action in parliamentary debates do depict this as a start of a whole new war.
“And the governments of the day find it quite difficult to counter that.”
Hague added: “It was going to be very every difficult to ‘enshrine this in law’ in my original words in a way that was compatible with the safety of our armed forces and the maximum security of the country.”