PRIME Minister David Cameron has cut short his holiday to chair a meeting of the UK’s National Security Committee on how to respond to an alleged chemical attack in Syria.
He is also set to make a decision today on whether to call back other MPs early to discuss the atrocity.
A Downing Street spokesman said yesterday: “The Prime Minister will be working from Downing St ahead of a meeting of the National Security Council scheduled for Wednesday. The government will decide [today] whether the timetable for our response means it will be necessary to recall MPs sooner than Monday when the House is currently due to return.”
Governments are urgently discussing how to respond to what is believed to have been a mass gassing of civilians by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces last Wednesday.
Many hundreds of people died in Damascus suburbs in what appears to have been the worst chemical weapons attack since Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds to death in 1988.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said yesterday it would be possible to respond without the unanimous backing of the United Nations Security Council.
“Whatever we do will be in accordance with international law and will be based on legal advice to the national security council and to the cabinet,” Hague said.
Cameron, US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande have spoken to each other and to other allies in the past few days in a flurry of phone calls.
Cameron also called Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, making it clear he believed the attack was carried out by the Syrian regime.
But a Downing Street spokesman said Putin maintains there is no evidence of a chemical weapons attack, or who was responsible.
Yesterday, UN chemical weapons inspectors finally reached the scene of the attack to carry out tests, after themselves facing sniper fire en route.