Syria airstrikes: Full text of British PM Theresa May on military action

Four Royal Air Force Tornado jets using Storm Shadow missiles had taken part in the attack on a military facility near Homs where it was assessed Syria had stockpiled chemicals, Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

May said she would address parliament on Monday about the strikes. In Douma, last Saturday, a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.

Theresa May will say: "Over the weekend I have spoken to a range of world leaders, including Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Gentiloni, Prime Minister Trudeau, Prime Minister Turnbull and European Council President Donald Tusk".

May has repeatedly said that the missile strike on Syria was not about "regime change".

May said the aim was to deter the Syrian regime authorities from further use of chemical weapons and to send a message to the wider world that it was unacceptable to use such weapons.

When asked if Syria's Assad could remain leader as long as he refrained from further use of chemical weapons, May said: "This was about, as I have said and you have recognized, this was specifically about the use of chemical weapons".

"It was right to take the action that we have done in the timing that we have done", she said.

"It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria - and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used".

But she also drew a link with the nerve agent attack on Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

Williamson told BBC radio that all British crews returned safely and early indications were that the strikes had been "highly successful".

May held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss possible action on Thursday and there had been calls for the British parliament to be consulted before any air strikes.

May is not obliged to win parliament's approval before ordering military action, but a non-binding constitutional convention to do so has been established since a 2003 vote on joining the US -led invasion of Iraq.

But they backed action in Iraq the following year, and again in Syria in 2015, strictly limiting strikes to targets of the Islamic State group. "The opposition does not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said the strikes risked "dangerous escalation".

But she was accused of "riding the coat-tails of an erratic United States president" by the Liberal Democrats, and "taking instructions" from Washington by Labour.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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