While the G8 begins today with splits already clear on Syria, David Cameron will be aware, as he sits down for talks with world leaders, that the splits in his own Parliament are becoming increasingly vocal.
It’s not just Boris Johnson’s column in today’s Telegraph in which the Mayor of London warns that ‘we won’t get a ceasefire by pressing weapons into the hands of maniacs’. Tory MPs have started openly discussing the lack of support for arming the rebels. Johnson’s intervention could be read by some as yet another attempt to undermine the PM who appears to be considering arming the rebels out of a deep personal conviction, given he commands very little support even within his own party on this. But it also underlines what a quagmire this situation is.
William Hague told the Today programme a few minutes ago that ‘there are no palatable options… there are no easy options at all, of course it’s not easy to take a decision to send arms into any conflict’. It is becoming clear that the leadership wants to make a case that it is possible to avoid arming those ‘maniacs’ that Boris warns of in his column. Hague said assisting the rebels would ‘make sure a democratic, legitimate opposition is not exterminated’. But those less confident than he might fear that this will simply bloody the killing field further.
The next Spectator Debate on 24 June will be debating the motion ‘Assad is a war criminal. The West must intervene in Syria’ with Malcolm Rifkind, Andrew Green, Douglas Murray and more. Click here to book tickets.