Business Today: Chamber for Thursday 29 August 2013



OP button Urgent Questions (if any)

OP button Ministerial Statements (if any)



Until any hour (Standing Order N o. 9(6))

The Prime Minister

That, at this day’s sitting, the Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the Motion in the name of the Prime Minister relating to Syria and the Use of Chemical Weapons not later than 10pm or six hours after their commencement, whichever is the later; such Questions shall include the Questions on any Amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved; proceedings may continue, though opposed, after the moment of interruption; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.



No debate (Standing Order s N o. 15 and No. 41A(3))

The Prime Minister

That, at this day’s sitting, the Business of the House motion in the name of the Prime Minister may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) will not apply.


The following is the corrected text of the Motion in the name of the Prime Minister relating to Syria and the Use of Chemical Weapons which stands on today’s (Thursday 29 August) Order Paper. The words underlined were omitted in error from the text of the Motion as tabled yesterday.


The Prime Minister

The Deputy Prime Minister

Secretary William Hague

Secretary Theresa May

Secretary Philip Hammond

Mr Dominic Grieve

That this House:

Deplores the use of chemical weapons in Syria on 21 August 2013 by the Assad regime, which caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries of Syrian civilians;

Recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons under international law;

Agrees that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria’s chemical weapons;

Notes the failure of the United Nations Security Council over the last two years to take united action in response to the Syrian crisis;

Notes that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime under customary law and a crime against humanity, and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action;

Notes the wide international support for such a response, including the statement from the Arab League on 27 August which calls on the international community, represented in the United Nations Security Council, to “overcome internal disagreements and take action against those who committed this crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible”;

Believes, in spite of the difficulties at the United Nations, that a United Nations process must be followed as far as possible to ensure the maximum legitimacy for any such action;

Therefore welcomes the work of the United Nations investigating team currently in Damascus, and, whilst noting that the team’s mandate is to confirm whether chemical weapons were used and not to apportion blame, agrees that the United Nations Secretary General should ensure a briefing to the United Nations Security Council immediately upon the completion of the team’s initial mission;

Believes that the United Nations Security Council must have the opportunity immediately to consider that briefing and that every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken, and notes that before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place; and

Notes that this Resolution relates solely to efforts to alleviate humanitarian suffering by deterring use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any action in Syria with wider objectives.

Amendment (a)

Caroline Lucas

Paul Flynn

Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Elfyn Llwyd

Jonathan Edwards

Hywel Williams

Line 1, leave out from ‘House’ to end and add ‘deplores the chemical weapons attacks and appalling loss of life in Syria; notes that the reports of weapons inspectors in Syria are yet to be published, and that there is no UN authorisation for military action; regrets that the Attorney General’s advice on the legality of military action has not been made available to hon. Members; calls for refugees from the Syrian conflict to be fully assisted and supported; and believes that the case for military action against Syria has not been established.’.

Relevant documents:

Oral evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 16 July 2013, on Developments in UK Foreign Policy, HC 268-i.


Proceedings may continue until 10.00pm or for six hours, if the Business of the House Motion is agreed to.