Front Bench: Theresa May has approval to launch strikes on Syria, but Donald Trump’s tweets aren’t helping

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Front Bench: Theresa May has approval to launch strikes on Syria, but Donald Trump's tweets aren't helping A sample of today's Front Bench morning politics email is below. If you like what you see, sign up here. Don't forget to vote in the poll and leave your reasoning in the comments below. The best responses will feature in this afternoon's Brexit Briefing. The Cabinet yesterday backed Theresa May’s decision to join the United States and France in launching military strikes at Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack last Saturday. Military preparations are now fully underway and, while a final decision has not been made, any attack is expected to take place in the next three days. Please stop tweeting This is despite President Trump tweeting “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”. Is the President attempting to make up for giving the game away on Wednesday by tweeting about his plans to fire missiles at Syria? Perhaps. The Times reports that security authorities in the US were “absolutely livid” at Trump telegraphing American plans to Syria. The regime has now shifted much of its air force to Russian bases, likely in the hope that the proximity of Russian men and materiel will deter coalition strikes. If that has you worrying about a third world war interrupting the weekend, fear not. The US has been on “deconfliction” phone to Russia to make sure there are no misunderstandings. Catherine Phil has a good explainer in The Times on why war with Russia isn’t on the way. While US officials were wrestling with Trump’s Twitter habit and dialing up Moscow, in the UK the debate continued about whether Parliament should have a vote on any action, with calls for one from across the major parties, including the Tory back benches. Jeremy Corbyn was adamant yesterday that it should, saying that “surely the lessons of Iraq, the lessons that came from the Chilcot report, are that there has to be a proper process of consultation”. Front Bench has discussed why May doesn’t have to go to Parliament already this week. I’ve now written up a handy constitutional guide to the role of Parliament in taking military decisions and how it has grown significantly since 2003. Answer the question Meanwhile, the PM breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons released its findings on the Skripal poisoning. While the full report is classified, the OPCW made clear that it backed the UK’s findings and said that it found the nerve agent to be of a “high purity”. That would almost certainly rule out the idea that a non-state actor could be behind the attempted murder. That evidence still wasn’t enough for Corbyn, who was confronted by a sixth former at Labour’s launch for its under 25’s bus pass policy. The student repeatedly asked Corbyn if he believed Vladimir Putin was responsible for the poisoning of the Skripals, but the Labour leader would only say that “an investigation must take place so the finger of blame can be pointed with evidence behind it." Parliamentary recess is over on Monday and the political cycle is already getting back into gear. In the meantime however, we have the strange situation of knowing almost for certain what the biggest event of the next few days is going to be, and yet not knowing exactly when it will happen. When you open the latest edition of Front Bench on Monday morning hundreds of cruise missiles will likely already have reigned down on Syria. What the consequences of that will be is hard to say. Like what you read? Want more? Sign up for the Front Bench newsletter direct to your inbox every weekday morning. It has all the best political analysis like that above and much more. Sign up here



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