Jeremy Corbyn has told Theresa May the joint airstrikes in Syria were “legally questionable”, calling on her to publish the legal advice she said she got from the Attorney General.
The Labour leader, in a letter to the Prime Minister, thanked her for informing him the bombing raids were taking place but re-stated his view Parliament should have been consulted.
He wrote: “The UK Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament, not the whims of a US President.
“I believe the action was legally questionable and this morning the UN Secretary General has said as much, reiterating that all countries must act in line with the UN Charter.
“You assured me that the Attorney General had given clear legal advice approving the action. I would therefore be grateful if you would publish this advice in full today.”
The Government has published a policy paper it says sets out the legal position, but it is not known if this is the full advice that Mr Corbyn was calling for.
Earlier, the Labour leader said the UK should not be taking instructions from the US and putting British military personnel in danger.
“Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace,” he said.
“Britain should be playing a leadership role to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict, not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm’s way.
“The Government should do whatever possible to push Russia and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable echoed Mr Corbyn in saying the decision to deploy missiles in Syria should have been decided by Parliament.
“Riding the coat-tails of an erratic US president is no substitute for a mandate from the House of Commons,” he said.
“The Prime Minister could and should have recalled Parliament this week and sought the approval of MPs before proceeding.
“Liberal Democrats stood ready to assess the evidence and objectives for any action and, if it were properly planned and justified, to support a military response.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she feared “dangerous escalation” as a result of the military action.
“Syria’s use of chemical weapons is sickening – but the question that the PM has not answered is how this action, taken without parliamentary approval, will halt their use or bring long term peace,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Airstrikes have not resolved [the] situation in Syria so far – nothing I’ve heard persuades me they will do so now. An international strategy for peace must be pursued – not a course that risks dangerous escalation.
“UK foreign policy should be set by Parliament, not US President.”
However, Mrs May said she acted in the national interest of the UK and added that there was “no practicable alternative to the use of force”.
She said: “The speed with which we are acting is essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.
“This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat – and it is not a decision I have taken lightly.
“I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.”