Syria vote: Clarke suggests US wanted 'quick' UK decision
The White House wanted the UK to hold a "quick vote" on Syria amid the clamour for an international response to the use of chemical weapons, a Cabinet minister has suggested.
Ken Clarke told Channel 4 News "the Americans wanted us to make this vote very quickly" but the "trauma" of Iraq led to defeat for the call for action.
Earlier, David Cameron vowed to remain engaged diplomatically in the crisis.
But the BBC's Nick Robinson said the UK may find itself sidelined at the G20.
The crisis in Syria will dominate the summit of world leaders starting in St Petersburg on Thursday, with US President Obama and French counterpart Francois Hollande pressing for a united stance on the need for limited military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
But having ruled out any UK involvement, Mr Cameron could find himself peripheral to discussions about military preparations, our political editor said.'Rush to war'
Speaking at prime minister's questions, Mr Cameron said he regretted last week's vote on military action, which the government lost, but vowed to use all of Britain's diplomatic "muscle" to try and bring both sides together for Syria peace talks.
End Quote Ken Clarke Minister without portfolio
The Americans wanted us to make this vote very quickly”
He reiterated that he "won't be bringing back plans for British participation in military action" in the future.
In his Commons exchanges with Labour leader Ed Miliband, Mr Cameron said he agreed that "we must use everything we have in our power - our diplomatic networks, our influence with other countries, our membership of all the key bodies, the G8, the G20, the UN, the EU, Nato - we must use all that influence to bring to bear".
Mr Miliband said Labour had opposed the government's strategy on Syria because it was concerned "about preventing a rush to war" and not because it believed Britain should "shirk its responsibility" to uphold international law.
The Labour leader said there was public support "for Britain taking every diplomatic, humanitarian effort to help the Syrian people", including pressing for peace talks involving the US and countries such as Russia and Iran which support of President Assad.
Mr Cameron said President Assad would not consider peace talks unless he came under sustained pressure at home and abroad.'Iraq trauma'
Mr Clarke, who missed last week's crucial vote for family reasons, suggested that ministers were "amazed" by Labour's ultimate decision not to back the government.
"We did not get a majority because of the trauma of the Iraq War," the minister without portfolio, who attends Cabinet, said. "The Americans wanted us to make this vote very quickly, We actually said we could have another vote later before action if people wanted."
"But people were so scarred by the experience of Iraq we did not manage to get across to enough of our people that we were not repeating the gross error of Iraq, and then Ed Miliband pulled most of the Labour Party out."
The prime minister has suggested he recalled Parliament to give MPs the opportunity to discuss the crisis at the earliest opportunity - but some MPs believe the move was premature and they were asked to vote before the full intelligence picture was clear.
Addressing a meeting of Conservative backbenchers on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said "lessons would be learnt" from the government's inability to persuade more than 30 of its MPs to back its stance.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has denied media reports that France has sent two spy planes to the RAF Akrotiri base in Cyprus, which is less than 200 miles (320km) from Syria.
On Tuesday, the prime minister's official spokesman said the UK had not received any requests from allies for the use of bases "and nor are we expecting any".