Cameron speaks of Syria 'refugee crisis of our time'
Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would continue to gather evidence on chemical weapons and their use in Syria, during a statement to the House of Commons on 9 September 2012.
Mr Cameron told MPs the government would press the United Nations Security Council to "overcome the paralysis of the last two and a half years and fulfil its responsibilities to lead the international response" so that those responsible can be brought to account.
The prime minister added: "This is the refugee crisis of our time. A Syrian becomes a refugee every 15 seconds, that's 240 fleeing during the hour of this statement alone."
Mr Cameron admitted that "the G20 was never going to reach unanimity on what action is needed in Syria" but said he had been able to hold talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin to try and bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
To achieve a political settlement Mr Cameron said the UK would continue to "assist the moderate Syrian opposition with political support, non-lethal equipment and technical advice and training" so that when the time came the Syrian opposition would be able "to stand up for the millions who want democracy, pluralism and freedom from terror and oppression".
Mr Cameron conceded that the UK would not take a military role in Syria after a government motion supporting military action was narrowly defeated on 28th August.
Responding to the statement Labour leader Ed Miliband said that it was vital that the government led the way on humanitarian aid after it had failed to "carry" the Commons on either arming the Syrian rebels or committing British forces to military intervention.
He welcomed "the vital extra funding" the government committed to during the G20 summit.
He went on to say that "while humanitarian aid is essential, it is insufficient to end the suffering. As you said, the only long term solution is a political and diplomatic one to which our energies must be directed."
Mr Miliband also called on the prime minister to establish a Syria contact group to renew pressure for a peace process.
Labour MP Ben Bradshaw asked the prime minister why had given up on pushing for the UK to take a military role "when 492 out of 577 members of this House supported or didn't rule out the use of force in Syria?"
Responding Mr Cameron said the government put everything desired by the Labour front bench in its motion to use of force "if necessary" in response to last month's apparent chemical weapons attack said to have been carried out by the Syrian regime."
"But the fact that [Labour] didn't vote for it shows me that they are not serious about this issue" Mr Cameron said.
"They are serious about political positioning and as prime minister it is very difficult to deal with that, so that is why I believe the House spoke quite clearly."