MPs demand vote on Syria intervention

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Foreign Secretary William Hague has given further assurances to MPs that they would be given a vote on arming rebel forces in Syria.

Mr Hague was pressed during Foreign Office questions on 18 June 2013 to guarantee there would be "a vote on a substantive motion" before any decision is taken.

Labour MP Peter Hain asked the foreign secretary to be "absolutely crystal clear" a vote would go ahead before such action.

Mr Hague stressed that no decision had been made, but said the government had "a strong record in holding votes in the House of Commons when it is necessary to do so".

He told MPs: "We certainly wouldn't want to pursue any aspect of our policy on this against the will of the House of Commons.

"So of course we've made clear there would be a vote and I've made clear as well that we would expect that to be before any such decision is put into action."

Seeking further clarification, Labour's Gisela Stuart asked the foreign secretary: "Was his answer to that yes?"

Mr Hague replied: "Yes of course we have a vote on an issue of that kind in the House of Commons,"

Conservative MP Julian Lewis wanted to know how it helped Britain's interests "to change yet another Arab dictatorship into another Islamist state, complete with weapons of mass destruction for al-Qaeda to use against us".

Mr Hague said the crisis was getting worse and a political situation could not be possible if "the more moderate and pragmatic parts of the opposition are exterminated over the coming months".

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