UK Politics: MPs and public oppose May's military intervention in Syria

Will Macron and May's intervention in Syria be constructive?
Theresa May with French president Macron who also backed airstrikes in Syria
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After Britain joined the US and France in military intervention in Syria, MPs and the public have been showing their opposition to Theresa May. Meanwhile, it's one year since the PM called a general election and the Tories are gearing up for losses at the local level...

"As for the chances of another snap election, bettors aren't convinced, making another vote this year [10.0] and 2022 the favourite [2.34]. But as the events of one year ago proved: anything is possible."

The Prime Minister believes missile attacks on Syrian military targets, that were launched by the UK, US and France on Saturday morning, are morally and legally justified. The attacks were in response to new accusations about Syria's President Assad using chemical weapons against his own people. Some British MPs are furious, however, that Theresa May gave the green light to military intervention without parliamentary consent.

May said on Saturday afternoon that the airstrikes had been a success while US President Donald Trump hailed a "perfectly executed strike." The move was condemned, however, by Vladimir Putin and the politicians and ordinary people around the world are concerned that it risks further inflaming tensions between the West and Russia

At home, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn questioned the legality of bombing Syria and said could worsen the already desperate situation in the country. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable both criticised May's decision to intervene without the consent of Parliament.

It's by no means certain that, given the chance to vote, a majority of MPs would have supported military intervention in Syria. Polling indicates too, that the public oppose Britain getting involved. A YouGov polled, conducted in midweek, showed 43% against and only 22% in favour.

One year on since May called the election that changed everything

On Wednesday it will be a year to the day since Theresa May stunned colleagues and opponents alike by calling a general election. You remember, don't you? The PM standing outside Number Ten saying Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership?

Six weeks later, the Tories lost their majority, as Corbyn's Labour proved to be a far more effective force than pretty much anyone expected. Since then, May's has staggered on as PM - "in office but not in power," to quote Michael Hestletine - and bettors have speculated about when she will depart.

At present, May arguably looks stronger than she has done at any time in the past 12 months, although bettors still make it [1.32] that Brexit will happen before she leaves Downing Street.

As for the chances of another snap election any time soon, bettors aren't convinced, making another vote this year [10.0] and 2022 the favourite [2.34]. But as the events of one year ago proved: anything is possible in today's political climate.

Local election defeats could rekindle Tory leadership debate

May will be encouraged to see her party [1.98] favourites to win most seats at the next election. They had spent the majority of the past year trailing Labour in Betfair's next general election markets, but the past month or so has seen the Tories make marginal gains in the polls and firm up in the betting.

Where the outlook for the Tories is less positive, however, is in the local elections that take place on May 3. We discussed last week how May's party could lose councils that were once strongholds - in part due to the PM's personal unpopularity - and, with money still only trickling into the markets for the likes of Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster, there is everything to play for.

The results of these local elections will have national ramifications. Plots to oust May, and install the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg [5.6] and Boris Johnson [12.0] as Tory leader, have gone underground in the past couple of months, as May has united her party against Russian in the Skripal affair, on the Brexit transition deal and arguably on Syria. However, if the Tories are wiped out in London on May 3 then questions about May's leadership will soon resurface.

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