Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Military Action Overseas: Parliamentary Approval

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 17th April 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 1:24 pm, 17th April 2018

No, I am going to make progress. Quite a few Members wish to speak in the debate, and I have taken a lot of interventions.

The second reason is the nature of the information that I see as Prime Minister, along with the National Security Council and the Cabinet. The Government make use of a wide range of sources of information, both those in the public domain and secret intelligence. In this case, drawing on the lessons of the past, we made a rigorous assessment of the available open-source material and intelligence about the Douma attack. Indeed, when my hon. Friend Sir Edward Leigh looked me in the eye and asked me to tell him that it was the Syrian regime that was responsible, I could do so in part because of the intelligence and assessment I had seen, and because I had discussed that intelligence and assessment with senior security and military officials, the National Security Council and Cabinet.

In the post-Iraq era, it is natural for people to ask questions about the evidence base for our military actions, including when we cite intelligence. They want to see all the information themselves. But we have an obligation to protect the safety and security of our sources. We must maintain secrecy if our intelligence is to be effective now and in the future. We have obligations to our partners to protect the intelligence they share with us, just as they protect intelligence we share with them, and we have to be judicious even in explaining the types of intelligence we use in any given case, or risk giving our adversaries vital clues about where our information comes from.