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LONDON — The British government would agree to a request
from Donald Trump to attack Syria, even without the support
of the UK parliament, Boris Johnson has said.
The Foreign Secretary told the Today Programme on Thursday that
Britain would almost certainly agree to join an attack on the
Assad regime, even without first putting it to a vote in
“If the Americans choose to act again, and they ask us to help, I
think it will be very difficult to say no,” Johnson said.
Asked whether that would need the approval of Parliament, Johnson
replied: “I think that needs to be tested.”
Pushed again on this point, he replied: “I think it
would be very difficult for us to say no.”
Former Coalition Prime Minister David Cameron lost a House of
Commons vote on authorising strikes against Syria in 2013 after
Conservative and Liberal Democrat rebels joined with Labour in
Since then the government has accepted the convention that
parliament must first authorise military action.
However, parliament is set to have an extended summer recess this
year because of the upcoming general election.
MPs can be recalled at the request of government, though, in
order to deal with “events of major national
Johnson was also pressed on the question of whether the NHS will
receive the £350m extra a week promised it by the pro-Brexit
campaign group Vote Leave in the run-up to the June referendum.
The UK Statistics Authority has described the figure as
misleading and likely to undermine trust in statistics.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
yesterday threw doubt on the possibility of the pledge being
honoured, saying that the UK would only get a dividend if
Brexit negotiations went well.
Johnson defended the contentious pledge, however, saying that
Theresa May would be free to “control” the money it currently
sends to the EU, after Brexit.
However, he repeatedly refused to say whether Britain would be
willing to pay up to £60bn for Britain’s “divorce bill” to the
EU, insisting only that they were not willing to continue paying
“huge sums of money in the long term” to the EU.
dismissed suggestions this week from David Cameron that trade
talks with the EU would only begin after the divorce bill had
“That’s not going to happen,” he insisted.