Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to join a potential military strike on Syria were thwarted on Thursday night when Britain’s parliament narrowly voted against a government motion to authorize such action in principle.
In a humiliating defeat for the British leader likely to damage Cameron’s hopes of being re-elected in 2015 and set back traditionally strong U.S.-UK relations, parliament defied Cameron by 285 to 272 votes.
Commentators said it was the first time a British prime minister had lost a vote on war since 1782, when parliament effectively conceded American independence by voting against further fighting to crush the colony’s rebellion.
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