More worrying than the prime minister’s refusal to offer a vote on Syria was her inability to offer a good explanation
No military intervention without representation.
Put like that, Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal to ensure no government could deploy troops again without first seeking parliament’s consent sounds virtually a no-brainer. After all, there is already a broad political consensus that the days of prime ministers declaring war and everyone meekly falling into line are over. To many, it won’t seem a huge leap to turn that into a legal duty to consult parliament – with exemptions, obviously, for emergencies such as Britain coming under imminent attack – and to require such consent for even strictly limited, one-off airstrikes like those Theresa May ordered last week. Every conflict starts somewhere, even if this particular Syrian operation turns out to have taken longer to debate than it did to carry out.