Corbyn accuses May of waiting on Trump over response to Syria crisis

Syria air strikes US President Donald Trump said the Syrian regime attacks

Update - 9.27am: Britain's Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the British Government of "waiting for instructions" from U.S. president Donald Trump on what to do over Syria.

"This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat - and it is not a decision I have taken lightly".

After a two-hour emergency meeting on Thursday, Cabinet ministers "agreed on the need to take action" in response to a "highly likely" chemical weapon attack by Syrian forces.

The Syrian government said it would facilitate the mission's investigation, which is to start on Saturday.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said it was understood the United Kingdom was planning a genuinely joint effort with the USA and France, rather than playing a supporting role.

"It is just frankly not right and we have to take action to stop that happening in the future and that's what we did last night".

Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It would be outrageous for the government not to bring military action in Syria to Parliament - for Parliament to have a vote..."

The Government has published a policy paper it says sets out the legal position, but it is not known if this is the full advice that Mr Corbyn was calling for.

"Bombs won't save lives or bring about peace", he said.

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He said it was "deeply alarming" to see the return of chemical weapons to the battlefield in Syria and the airstrikes was the "right thing to do" in "settling the determination to ensure these weapons cannot be used".

The diplomatic discussions are starting to feel like part of a waiting game. Its use of chemical weapons, which has exacerbated the human suffering, is a serious crime of worldwide concern, as a breach of the customary global law prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity.

But they privately admit they can't be 100% sure. Since 2013, neither diplomatic action, tough sanctions, nor the USA strikes against the Shayrat airbase in April 2017 have sufficiently degraded Syrian chemical weapons capability or deterred the Syrian regime from causing extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale through its persistent use of chemical weapons.

On Capitol Hill, US defence secretary Jim Mattis said the National Security Council would be meeting later on Thursday to present Mr Trump with various options, adding that he could not talk about any military plans because an attack "is not yet in the offing".

Senior figures from Russia have warned of a Russian response to a United States attack. "But the USA administration is giving alarmingly contradictory signals", he said.

Corbyn continued: "Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump".

The letter has been signed by MPs, trade unionists, celebrities and academics.

May is certain to face MPs' anger on Monday when parliament returns from recess.

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