Hague updates MPs on Syria


Foreign Secretary William Hague updated the House of Commons on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, on 10 July 2013.

Mr Hague told MPs Britain could supply equipment to protect Syrian civilians against chemical and biological weapon attacks from the Assad regime.

He added: "We call on Syria to allow the UN unfettered access to investigate incidents of chemical weapons use in Syria. Those responsible for any attack should be held to account.

"We have passed evidence of the use of sarin in Syria to the UN and we are concerned to see new unconfirmed reports of chemical attacks in Homs."

The foreign secretary reiterated the government's commitment to a vote in the Commons if a decision is taken to arm the rebels, or for military intervention by the UK - recalling Parliament during the summer recess if necessary.

Labour's spokesman on foreign affairs, Douglas Alexander, cited an Intelligence and Security Committee report which expresses "serious concerns about al-Qaeda elements gaining access to the vast stockpile of chemical weapons within Syria".

He regretted that the recent summit of G8 nations "failed to deliver the breakthrough that we all wanted to see in relation to Syria".

At the end of the statement, during points of order, Nigel Dodds, the DUP's Westminster leader, was expelled from the House for refusing to withdraw remarks he made about the Northern Ireland secretary.

He had accused Theresa Villiers of being "deliberately deceptive" in an answer which was ruled "disorderly" by Speaker John Bercow, who warned the North Belfast MP he would be named if he did not retract the remark.

Mr Dodds repeatedly refused, and was suspended from the Commons for the remainder of the day's sitting.

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