Parliament will have to wait until Tuesday to vote on British military involvement in strikes on Syria. Labour plus up to 70 dissenting Tories would have sunk Cameron's bill if the Tory leader did not include Labour's amendment for delayed action...
From the Guardian:
The British prime minister, David Cameron, conceded that MPs would be given a second vote to approve military action to defuse a parliamentary revolt, ahead of a Commons debate on Syria on Thursday. Whitehall sources indicated that the US, which had planned to launch the strikes by the weekend, is prepared to revive a back-up plan to delay the strikes until Tuesday when Barack Obama is due to set out for the G20 summit in Russia.The US has indicated that it is willing to delay the strikes into next week as a sort of lifeline to Cameron, but that it was otherwise satisfied with the "intelligence."
Political opposition to military action in Syria is obviously stronger in the UK than here: Cameron has been forced to wait for the UN inspectors' report before he is going to be able to fulfill his role as poodle to the US. For their part, the inspectors are saying that might be a week or more away: they still have four more days on site at the Ghouta gas attack site before their two-week window from the Syrians expires. Lab testing would then have to be completed and the report written. That report will not be ready by the second vote scheduled for Tuesday.
The US and UK plan to release a joint summary of their "intelligence" tomorrow; the US has already dismissed any UN conclusions due to delays by the Syrians it says makes those findings incredible.
The stakes for Cameron are enormous:
If the wait for the UN report extends much beyond Tuesday, the transatlantic ties could fray further, putting the prime minister under intense pressure. Cameron had faced the prospect of a defeat, or a politically damaging narrow victory, when MPs vote on Thursday evening on a motion calling for a proportionate response.Apparently only the British are impeded by democratic rule: the French, under Hollande, are under no obligation to discuss their participation with anyone. Long live the Gaullist Presidency. The Americans? They have this pretty constitution...
BBC: "Syria crisis: UK puts forward UN proposal" - filed before the Labour gambit
BBC: "Syria crisis: MPs to vote twice before direct UK action" - filed after Labour filed its amendment
Independent: "Back from the brink: David Cameron forced to retreat over Syria"
Telegraph: "Cameron backs down on urgent Syria strikes - David Cameron backed down and agreed to delay a military attack on Syria following a growing revolt over the UK's rushed response to the crisis on Wednesday night."