15 January 2024 – today’s press release

Houthi strikes: Lib Dems to table Bill giving MPs a vote over UK military action

The Liberal Democrats are set to table a Bill which will give Parliament a vote over military action. The Lib Dem legislation – dubbed the ‘War Powers Bill’ – will enshrine the right for MPs to approve military action into law.

It comes following criticism levelled at Rishi Sunak, who has failed to grant MPs a vote on the UK’s strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

From the 2000s onwards, MPs were frequently given the opportunity to vote on military action and intervention. In emergency cases, retrospective votes have been facilitated, such as with the intervention in Libya in 2011.

Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson Richard Foord MP commented:

Parliament must not be bypassed on an issue as important as military action, in circumstances like those we have seen in recent days.

For Rishi Sunak to attempt to ignore elected representatives is disgraceful. The Prime Minister is riding roughshod over a democratic convention.

It’s time we ensure that the approval of a decision to take military action rests with our sovereign Parliament. This Bill will ensure that MPs can reflect the views of our constituents on military action – not just in relation to the strikes in Yemen – but in the future.

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3 Comments

  • Leekliberal 16th Jan '24 - 9:19am

    Good to see the Lib Dems finally getting off the back foot!

  • Peter Martin 16th Jan '24 - 12:58pm

    Don’t expect any support from Starmerite Labour on this.

    During his leadership campaign Starmer pledged to create a law requiring “the consent of the Commons” for military action.

    Apparently the bombing in Yemen doesn’t now count as ‘military action’!

    Or, maybe he has forgotten what he said or didn’t really mean it in the first place. It was just a line to be spun to win votes at the time.

  • What is clear the Houthi strikes were not an emergency, having had a relatively long build up of attacks on shipping, there was time for Parliament to debate and vote.

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