Syria crisis: Nick Clegg rules out second Commons vote on military action as Boris Johnson increases pressure on Cameron

The Deputy Prime Minister said 'we're not going to keep asking the same question of Parliament again and again'

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has waded into the row over the Commons vote on military action in Syria saying he couldn't "foresee any circumstances" where the matter would return to parliament.

Mr Clegg insisted the government would not "go back" to the House of Commons on the issue.

"We're not going to keep asking the same question of Parliament again and again," he said.

"We live in a democracy, the executive cannot act in a way which clearly is not welcome to Parliament or the British people, so we're not proposing to do so."

He added: "I can't foresee any circumstances that we would go back to Parliament on the same question, on the same issue."

Mr Clegg also today accused Labour of using the House of Commons vote "as an opportunity to score party political points".

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a daily Westminster media briefing: "Parliament has spoken and that is why the Government has absolutely no plans to go back to Parliament."

Mr Clegg's intervention followed an article this morning by London Mayor Boris Johnson in which he stated that MPs could be asked to vote again on military action in Syria if further evidence emerges that civilians were targeted by chemical weapons.

Mr Johnson joined calls for a second vote after Washington announced that they had seen blood and hair samples proving President Bashar al Assad used sarin gas to attack civilians.

Boris Johnson is the most high-profile figure to suggest that parliament could vote again on the issue following an embarrassing Commons defeat for the Prime Minister last week.

The London mayor suggested that British forces could still be deployed to Syria following the atrocity on the outskirts of Damascus and  insisted there was "no reason" why a renewed bid for parliamentary support could not still be made.

Mr Johnson's comments are likely to further increase pressure on David Cameron to take the vote to parliament once again, despite Chancellor George Osborne categorically ruling out a rethink or new vote on Syria action over the weekend.

George Osborne insisted yesterday that "Parliament has spoken" and suggested that even in the face of fresh chemical weapons attacks or new evidence, Britain will not intervene.

Foreign Secretary William Hague also said it was not "realistic" to repeatedly return to the Commons with the same question.

Mr Osborne told BBC 1's Andrew Marr show: "I think Parliament has spoken. I think the Labour Party will always play this opportunistically.

"The Conservative MPs, and there were Liberal Democrats, who couldn't support us, they have a deep scepticism about military involvement and I don't think another UN report, or whatever, would make the difference.

"Of course I wanted us to be part of a potential military response. Now that is just not going to be open to us now because the House of Commons has spoken."

Boris Johnson, who is often talked of as a potential successor to David Cameron, joined Lord Howard, a former Conservative leader, former foreign secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, and former Liberal Democrat leader, Lord Ashdown, in calling for a second vote.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, the Mayor of London said the use of gas for mass murder could not be allowed to go unpunished.

"If there is new and better evidence that inculpates Assad, I see no reason why the Government should not lay a new motion before Parliament, inviting British participation - and then it is Ed Miliband, not David Cameron, who will face embarrassment," he wrote.

"The Labour leader has been capering around pretending to have stopped an attack on Syria - when his real position has been more weaselly.

"If you add the Tories and Blairites together, there is a natural majority for a calibrated and limited response to a grotesque war crime."

Confusion over the government's position was compounded earlier when Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt appeared to indicate that a second vote may not be entirely off the table, telling ITV's Daybreak that he would "never say never".

"You can never say never to anything. If circumstances are different, who knows?" he said.

"But the point is that Parliament had the opportunity to look at it last week, and what the UK is now committed to is working diplomatically with partners on all the other things we need to do... Ultimately what will benefit the Syrian people is getting that negotiated settlement."

Video: Nick Clegg - No second vote on Syria

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own