When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Rebel MPs delay Syria attack vote
MPs have been urged to give a united response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria after David Cameron was forced to concede that any decision on British involvement in military action should be delayed to give United Nations inspectors time to complete their work.
In the face of opposition from Labour and a potential revolt by backbenchers, the Prime Minister accepted a second vote in Parliament would be required to support direct UK military involvement in Syria once the UN process was complete.
MPs who have been recalled to Parliament for an emergency session on the crisis will vote on a motion backing the principle of military action in response to a "crime against humanity" by Bashar Assad's regime.
Downing Street said Mr Cameron was determined to act in a consensual way and had never ruled out a second vote, although he believed it would be "difficult".
Foreign Secretary William Hague accepted that the Government had made "an effort to accommodate the concerns and questions of other parties" in its motion and said ministers were keen to avoid "votes on narrow majorities" on such an important issue.
He said: "This motion ... endorses the Government's consistent approach that we must be prepared to take action against the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, to deter the future use of chemical weapons. But it also reflects the desire to proceed on a consensual basis, if possible without votes that are on narrow majorities or on party lines, but to ensure that there is widespread support across the House of Commons and of course respect for the United Nations processes as well."
The motion which the Prime Minister will present in the Commons states that the UN security council (UNSC) should consider a briefing from the inspectors and seek to agree a resolution on military strikes against Syria - although ministers conceded this was unlikely given Russian and Chinese opposition. Crucially it states: "Before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place."
Labour said the Prime Minister had committed a U-turn 90 minutes after being informed of Ed Miliband's view that the inspectors should be given time and a further vote on military action was required . A senior Labour source said: "Ed was determined to do the right thing. It has taken Labour forcing a vote to force the Government to do the right thing."
A senior No 10 source said: "This is obviously a fluid and fast-moving situation.The Prime Minister has been trying to be consensual all along. This motion is designed to be consensual." The source denied that the Prime Minister told Mr Miliband a second vote was out of the question. "The Prime Minister made clear that it was difficult but he did not say there's no chance of a second vote," he said.
The motion will ask MPs to agree "that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria's chemical weapons". And it states that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime and that the principle of humanitarian intervention "provides a sound legal basis for taking action".