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Labour's Tom Watson joins support backing US missile strikes in Syria

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Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson has said he supports the US strikes in Syria, calling them 'a direct and proportionate response to a clear violation of international law'.

The West Bromwich East MP said that chemical weapon attacks 'can never be tolerated and must have consequences'.

He is the most senior figure from Labour so far to have spoken out on the attacks launched by US president Donald Trump overnight.

The move has also been backed by Labour's Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden, who said the West could not afford to repeat the mistakes of 2013, when the use of chemical weapons went unanswered.

Tom Watson and Pat McFadden today gave their backing for the US missile attack on Syria

Mr Watson said: "These US strikes appear to be a direct and proportionate response to a clear violation of international law by the Syrian regime.

"It's clear from the nerve gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun earlier this week that President Assad had retained a chemical weapons capability, contrary to what was agreed in 2013.

"Indiscriminate chemical weapons attacks on civilians can never be tolerated and must have consequences.

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"It's vital that the United States is now clear about its intentions and that the whole international community works towards a political settlement in Syria."

  • MORE: US missile attack on Syria was 'vital in national security interest' says Trump

Mr McFadden said: "The regime's use of chemical weapons went unanswered in 2013.

"It could not go unanswered a second time and it is right that the US took action against the airfield from where this week's terrible chemical weapons attack was launched."

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Former shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn tweeted: "Let's hope Syria will now think twice before deciding to gas its own people again. Priority must be humanitarian assistance for civilians."

In contrast Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was at odds with many of his MPs.

He condemned what he said was a 'unilateral military action without legal authorisation or independent verification', which risked intensifying the Syrian conflict.

Syrian officials said at least seven people were killed and nine were wounded in the US missile attack on Shayrat Airfield.

Overnight the US fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles in response to Tuesday's chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that killed more than 100 people.

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