Britain’s Armed Forces are drawing up options for a joint strike with the US on Syrian forces.
Military chiefs were yesterday instructed by ministers to plan for expanded operations against Bashar Assad in the wake of a poison gas atrocity blamed on the dictator.
No 10 refused to rule out the Prime Minister recalling Parliament to vote on action but sources said she might be able to go ahead without approval from MPs.
Talks are underway across Whitehall on the possibility of bringing back MPs from the Easter recess to debate a response, with insiders saying it was a ‘grey area’ as to whether they were needed.
David Cameron lost a Commons vote in 2013 over launching airstrikes on the Assad regime following a chemical weapons outrage.
There is no legal requirement on the Government to seek parliamentary approval before military action but Mr Cameron set a precedent on consulting MPs first.
The talks came as Theresa May said President Assad’s main backer, Russia, must be held to account if the regime is found to be responsible for the chemical attack near Damascus.
Describing the attack on Saturday which killed dozens of civilians, including children, as barbaric, she refused to rule out a military response.
‘We are working urgently with our allies to assess what has happened,’ she said. ‘We are also working with our allies on any action that is necessary.’
Senior MPs have urged the PM to strike. Former aid minister Priti Patel tweeted yesterday: ‘Syria has become a proxy battlefield with another act of barbarism by Assad sanctioned by his Russian and Iranian backers.
‘World leaders can no longer say that strong action is needed unless they are prepared to act. Inaction has become a stain on our collective humanity.’