London: UK government motion on Syria intervention has been rejected by a 285 to 272 margin after British lawmakers rejected an opposition Labour amendment calling for more information about the deployment of chemical weapons in Syria.
The Labour amendment was defeated by 332 votes to 220, with a government majority of 112.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has asserted that such action would put a halt to human rights atrocities in Syria, while Labour party MPs said they required more evidence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s guilt to intervene in the Middle Eastern nation’s two-year civil war.
MPs on both side of the aisle expressed doubt over British involvement in Syria during a six hour debate in the House of Commons. Cameron called back lawmakers from their summer vacation to determine whether Britain would join US-led military action in Syria, if the US decides to do so in the coming days.
Cameron, while advocating for limited attacks against the Assad government, admitted he was not “100% certain” that Assad was behind a recent chemical attack, but that it was “highly likely”. Cameron admitted it was clear the British Parliament did not want action and said he “will act accordingly.”
One MP shouted “resign” as Cameron pledged he would not order an attack.
The vote came just before US President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet with congressional lawmakers and other key leaders to brief them on possible military action in Syria. White House deputy spokesman Josh earnest told reporters Thursday that the US was prepared to “go it alone” in Syria to protect American “core national security interests.”
“The president of the United States is elected with the duty to protect the national security interests of America,” he said. “The decisions he makes about our foreign policy is with our national security interests front and center.”
Doug Brandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told The Guardian that “caution has grown” within the Obama administration over as recent developments have progressed.
“I think they’ve found over the last couple of days both a lack of support at home, both among the American people and Congress, and then the look internationally and suddenly they don’t feel quite so surrounded by friends,” he said.