Why a "War Powers" act would be a seriously bad idea.
There will be some instances where it is practical and desirable for parliament to discuss and determine in advance the principles and objectives of a potential military action.
However, the idea that the executive should always require the prior approval of parliament for any military action in any circumstances is both absurd and dangerous.
To compare Jeremy Corbyn and Michael Foot is grossly unfair to Michael Foot, but this Cummings cartoon first published during the Falklands war and taking the mickey out of Foot makes the point perfectly:
I share many of the concerns of those who do not want the UK to be involved in Syria's civil war, and I think it was wise of the US, French and British governments that the action they took at the weekend was clearly aimed specifically at chemical warfare facilities and designed to minimise the risk of escalation. As I wrote on Saturday, I think that action of the kind which was actually taken was the least worst of a set of very bad options.
I can respect the view of those who thought that the action should have been put to parliament first, though on balance I don't agree with them. To get parliamentary approval the government might have had to share information which it was prejudicial to the safety of RAF personnel and to the mission's chance of success to put into the public domain - and thereby provide to the Syrian regime's forces - prior to the attack.
I cannot agree with the views of those who think there are no circumstances in which a British government might have to act without prior approval from the House of Commons. There will certainly be some circumstances where there just isn't time or where the process of getting such approval will give too much information to our enemies and put the lives of British servicemen and servicewomen at risk.
The same applies to those who say that Britain should never act without the approval of the United Nations Security council. As former attorney general Dominic Grieve told the House of Commons today, the inevitable consequence of such a policy would be that
“Any tyrant or megalomaniac, if they have support of an amoral state on the UN Security Council, could act with impunity,"
"Far from upholding the international rules based system, it would be dead.”