Heated Debate Erupts In British Parliament Over Syria

Prime Minister David Cameron faces off with Labor Party members opposed to military action in Syria.
12:12 | 08/29/13

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Heated Debate Erupts In British Parliament Over Syria
This is a special group. Report from ABC news. -- contact Hernandez in new York -- this is an ABC news digital special report. British prime minister David camera took center stage. London's house of commons urging support for military intervention in Syria your questions sent here. -- -- -- -- To do -- That is what today's motion is about it and I commend it to the -- Com and patience. -- replied -- more from. Iraq this afternoon at parliament in a moment first we're joined by ABC's -- -- with the latest on Syria. From Washington to mind. -- -- President Obama is meeting with his national security team today behind closed doors before briefing members of congress tonight about his decision on Syria. All the president will say right now. Is that if he orders a strike it would be limited. As President Obama weighs a possible attack on Syria his administration is scheduled to brief members of congress by phone today on the situation. It's also expected that the administration will seek to build public support for action releasing in the next day or so a comprehensive intelligence report. Justifying military action against the Syrian regime. In response to an alleged chemical attack it launched against civilians. The president told the PBS news hour he wants to send -- are -- -- a strong but measured message. I have no interest in any kind of open ended conflict in Syria but we do have to make sure. That win. Countries break international norms that their health account. UN chemical weapons inspectors and Syria headed out for another day of investigations. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon what's the United States and its allies to wait for the inspector's report before a military strike. The real news. Out of Syria by a set of their morning. And are there are reports out of Syria that military installations and government buildings have. If evacuated in the capital as the country prepares for possible attack time. And to not today brings more legal questions as President Obama put forward as justification for a possible attack in Syria. What's really interesting you saw that boats going on today in the parliament but what the president is saying is that. He is sure the administration is positive that those chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime. On civilians -- the president is arguing that those chemical weapons pose a threat to US national security. That was the same basis that the Bush Administration made. Argument the Bush Administration made back in 2003 before the invasion of Iraq. That's not what's. Latest from the administration on the president's decision making process we know that the US is possibly urged the investigators to come back home. -- perhaps paving the way for an airstrike. -- it does seem that President Obama is not waiting for those UN investigators all we know right now is the White House -- saying that the president has not. Made his decision but it looks like -- The president will decide whatever is going to the side without the without waiting for the UN although US allies do want the president to hold off and wait what act congress and members of congress of -- pretty hard for the White House. To more formally present its case. Well they get what they want. -- some of them are probably not going to be decided. And satisfied at all with. The administrate with the case that the administration makes now the president today is going to brief them there will be. Classified briefing and they'll -- unclassified information it goes out there but some people. Want the president to get congressional authorization for any type of military attack but of course that is unlikely congress is not even in session right now some members want congress to come back to get that authorization. Right ABC's -- -- Bradley in Washington thank you for joining us. Now we go now to London were ABC's -- -- has been monitoring the debate both inside the parliament at a crossing UK good afternoon next. -- -- our area all right good so we've seen some passionate exchanges today in the halls of British power if the US decided to strike. Say today where do we know or where to rethink the -- government's stance. It's very simple that the US strikes today or tomorrow or frankly even over the weekend US is alone. There is no support. Officials support from this government as of now. There they're debating now in the house of parliament. The prime minister here because it's a parliamentary system had to go to parliament had to get approval from hundreds of parliamentary. Members for this attack at first he said. Let's go -- with a single vote authorizing the attack he realized that that would failed -- he stepped back and -- are right let's -- a single resolution at first that will say. One day or soon enough we may need to attack and it's conditional and even that. Vote is not clear that he may win that so in the UK right now there's a long debate is going to be a vote in a few hours it's not clear in the United Kingdom is going to back. Even the thought. Of attacking so as of now the US is alone and frankly even over the weekend or early next week. If this first resolution passes the UK parliament and that second -- resolution comes up for a vote. This government may not support it. You know immediately following this attack the British government made some of the strongest comments in terms of the attack in the presumption of -- chemical attack. Why the hesitation now. One word like we talked about for the last few weeks after last few days rather and liked him on his mention Iraq. The labor party here which supported. The Iraq War whose leader -- went to war in Iraq standing next President Bush is saying hold on wait a minute we've seen this movie. And we don't trust the intelligence we seen this movie and we know how it ends and right now that Labour Party which has a significant portion of the opposition. Is stopping. This resolution is stopping approval. All of a military strike and with other people within David Cameron's own party the Conservative Party. There's one report that says as many as seventy members of his home party. Our question in this there's a lot of people saying look we've been here before ten years ago in Iraq we don't want to repeat it. Let's listen to both sides of the argument now directly from the speakers first prime minister Cameron. Earlier today laying out the rationale for intervention. In no way does the opposition motion even beginning to point the finger of blame that president to -- That is that all of us with what has been said by -- President Obama and every European and regional leader I've spoken to. There is an enormous amount of open source reporting there's an enormous amount of videos we can -- there's the fact we know that the regime has an enormous arsenal the fact. They've used it before the fact they were attacking that area and then with the opposition of course there's the fact they don't have those weapons they don't have the delivery systems and the attack took place is an area. Which they -- themselves holding. Very animated call for action there now let's listen. The opposition leader Ed Miliband who took the floor and the labor party's case precaution. We didn't -- -- follow the evidence over the coming days. -- parts of persuading the international community and people in this country of president Assad's culpability and I think that's important. Any reckless and irresponsible action could lead to fuel. The war and not India and the -- to understand from previous conflicts. That war is not some sort of kooky kooky -- -- what should lead you lead. -- -- -- -- -- -- To proceed decision not decision -- evident. So -- the call -- for more intelligence we know that the UN. Inspectors there may have a report within days or it may take them longer but no matter what they conclude they are not looking at. Who did this they're just looking at whether it happened would that be enough to satisfy the labor party. No I don't think it will be which is why the British government took a rather unusual step of putting out its intelligence report. Earlier today and part of -- reads that the regime has used chemical weapons on a smaller scale. And at least fourteen occasions in the past and that's a number we actually hadn't heard before and this intelligent report concludes there is some intelligence to suggest. Regime culpability in this attack last week. These factors make it quote highly likely -- Syrian regime was responsible that's the British -- -- best case for war and that in addition to the fact that we don't have. UN evidence yet. Means that all of these opposition hundreds of opposition lawmakers in parliament right now are opposing this and David Cameron might lose this vote tonight now. You heard that the labor had -- -- David Miliband speak about. How they need to wait for the UN we may get a little movement on that thanks to Saturday morning. The UN inspectors may leave. The UN will put out some kind of statement or some kind of assessment. Presumably over the weekend but even that is challenging in the White House -- schedule. You know at the earliest. We're talking about a second vote in the UK parliament over the weekend maybe early next week and the White House seemed to have been beating the drum toward war -- a strike you know today tomorrow are at the latest over the weekend. OK so let's now turn and look at the French they played a larger role in the military campaign in Libya where they stand. On Syria right now. Well I think the French are having some of the same problems that the brits are there's a debate. As to whether you can go ahead with this strike before the UN finishes. It's work. And we're not talking about a week here we're not talking about even that many days we're talking about 36 hours before the UN inspectors will -- to report. To the Secretary General in which they will presumably say that we have evidence of chemical weapons but as you pointed out. They will not say that the regime launched it so in some ways it almost doesn't matter with the UN says and that's what the White House is arguing. That it doesn't matter what the secure -- say the Security Council says because there's -- justification of war without the Security Council doesn't matter with the UN weapons inspectors because they don't have a large enough mandate. Let's get on with -- and the British and the French are both saying wait a minute let's at least give the U had a chance. And that means that if the US wants to go ahead in the next couple days. It's doing and alone. How badly does the president want the support of these western allies. Well I think the only people who can answer -- -- sitting in the White House right now. But he has said very publicly. That he doesn't want to do this alone and that he wants. The supports his allies in the expects these the support of his allies and also it's it's it's interesting to talk about Libya in this is that we're talking a lot about -- -- But with Libya the president worked very hard to get the support not only the British and French who frankly -- -- militarily. They campaign that was a real stretch for them militarily but he also had the support of the Arab -- he had the support of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and -- -- itself actually sent. -- -- fighter jets. Over to Libya to help this campaign right now. He had some Arab League discussion yesterday about how the Asad regime was culpable in the attack but the Arab League did not. Endorse any kind of military action the British are now -- Very far from endorsing military action there's no explicit endorsement. From the French French president yet military action so right now the president. Is much more isolated than he has said he always wanted to be not only for this attack but in the past with the with Libya as well. And the debate continues overseas ABC's nick -- in London thank you for joining us. Ever gonna have more on the Syrian crisis as the day unfolds Moran abcnews.com. As well -- -- -- Hernandez in new York and this has been an ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from the.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"12:12","description":"Prime Minister David Cameron faces off with Labor Party members opposed to military action in Syria.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/International","id":"20110425","title":"Heated Debate Erupts In British Parliament Over Syria","url":"/International/video/syria-chemical-attack-claims-heated-debate-erupts-british-20110425"}