U.K. Parliament Rejects Syria Action

8/29/13
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
8/29/13:

The U.K. vote against military strikes in Syria is a tough blow to Prime Minister David Cameron’s domestic political fortunes.

Since taking office in 2010, he has on numerous occasions been undercut not just from opposition parties, but also from rebel elements within both his own Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, the junior member of the U.K.’s governing coalition.

hat was the combination that once again hurt Mr. Cameron late Thursday. The government lost a vote—by a tally of 285 to 272—that would have supported in principle military intervention in Syria, where Western governments have said President Bashar al-Assad’s regime carried out a deadly chemical-weapons attack on civilians last week. Members of all major parties—including Mr. Cameron’s Tories—opposed the measure.

Mr. Cameron said it is clear that the British Parliament, reflecting the view of the British people, doesn’t want to see the U.K. get involved in military action and “the government will act accordingly.”

The outcome marks a significant moment in British politics—it is highly unusual for a prime minister to be defeated on foreign policy and raises the prospect of whether the U.K.’s role on the world stage going forward.

It is also a rare setback for U.S.-U.K. relations that will spur questions about the so-called “special relationship” between the two nations.

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