Syria air strikes provoke mixed reaction

Theresa May has faced both support and criticism from politicians across the UK after Britain launched strikes on Syria overnight alongside the US and France.

The Prime Minister said she judged the operation to be in Britain's national interest, adding that there was "no practicable alternative to the use of force".

Her decision came despite demands from opposition parties that Parliament was consulted before any military action was launched.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson backed the PM, writing on Twitter that the world was "united in its disgust for any use of chemical weapons, but especially against civilians".

Other Tory MPs also publicly voiced their support, with Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall saying: "Speed is essential. A clear signal to anyone who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity."

Newark MP Robert Jenrick said: "My thoughts are with our servicemen and women - and those of our US and French allies. The cost to President Assad of using heinous chemical weapons must be higher than any perceived benefit. I strongly support the PM's decision."

However, Stewart McDonald, the Scottish National Party spokesman for defence, said UK forces had been engaged in "gesture bombing with no major international consensus".

"Most worrying is that she has acted at the behest of presidential tweets and sidelined Parliament," he said on Twitter.

"What does this new bombing campaign do to help move Syria towards peace? Nothing.

"Instead, it has the potential to dangerously complicate the war, making matters on the ground worse for the people that the strikes are supposed to help. There is no peace strategy."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said questions remained about how peace could be brought to Syria.

She wrote: "My first thoughts this morning are with the service personnel called to action.

"Syria's use of chemical weapons is sickening - but the question that the PM has not answered is how this action, taken without parliamentary approval, will halt their use or bring long-term peace."

SNP MP Ian Blackford said there needed to be an international response to "heinous" chemical weapon attacks, adding: "That has not happened. I regret that the overnight attacks have come before we have an informed debate in the UK Parliament as to alternatives to bombing."

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