Geneva Conference On Syria

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): I hope Iran is included, because it is a key player, but whether or not it is included, can the Foreign Secretary say to the House in absolutely crystal clear terms that, if the Government decide to send arms to Syria, there will be a vote—I choose my words precisely—on a substantive motion before that decision is executed? Within that, I define as arms British planes policing a no-fly zone and possibly bombing anti-aircraft installations of the Syrian Government, and training, which could be training on the ground. Will he confirm a quote in The Sunday Times:

“One senior Tory source said…‘The bottom line is that we will avoid at all costs a vote as we don’t think we can win it’”?

This is a cross-party matter.

Mr Hague: It is a cross-party matter. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I have made the position clear, so I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman needs to look at “a senior Tory source”. There is no Tory more senior than the Prime Minister. [Interruption.] Occasionally, one or two might think they are, but there are no Tories more senior than the Prime Minister and he has made it clear that the Government have a strong record of holding votes in the House of Commons on these issues when it is necessary to do so. We certainly would not want to pursue any aspect of our policy on this issue against the will of the House of Commons. That is neither feasible nor desirable, so of course we have made clear that there would be a vote. I have also made it clear that we would expect it to be before any such decision was put into action.