EXETER's MP has said it would be "shameful" if Britain was to "stand on the sidelines" in the Syria crisis as David Cameron comes under pressure to get Parliament to back military action.
The Prime Minister ruled out sending in British forces following a humiliating defeat in the Commons last week. But the prospect of Parliament revisiting the issue remains.
Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter and a former Cabinet minister, insisted British forces could still be deployed following the atrocity on the outskirts of Damascus and said the Prime Minister acted "petulantly" immediately after the 13-vote defeat by dismissing a second vote.
The Government, in turn, has accused Labour of dividing the Commons by refusing to back the Government motion last week and proposing a separate amendment, which was also rejected.
Mr Bradshaw, who voted for a Labour amendment but abstained from the Government motion, said: "When MPs were voting last Thursday most of us were voting not for immediate action or no action, but for the Government to come back after a United Nations process and presenting the evidence for a second vote in the next week or so.
"We were gobsmacked when Cameron petulantly ruled out another vote.
"Are we really saying that if Assad continues to murder women and children with chemical weapons in even greater numbers than he already has, Britain would just stand on the sidelines? It's shameful."
President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria has been blamed for suspected chemical attacks on the outskirts of Damascus where hundreds of innocent civilians are reported to have died.
The Government's motion which said a response "may, if necessary, require military action", if backed by evidence from the inspectors, and promised a second vote next week, was defeated by 13 votes, 285 – 272.
An earlier vote on an amendment to the motion by Labour leader Ed Miliband calling for "compelling evidence" that the regime was responsible for chemical attacks, was also rejected by MPs by 112 votes, 332 – 220.
America's Obama administration officials have made it clear that they believe "beyond doubt" that chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime.
East Devon MP Hugo Swire voted in favour of the Government's motion and warned that Britain now faced "waiting on the sidelines" in the face of mass humanitarian suffering.
The Labour rhetoric since last week's vote, including that of Mr Bradshaw, accuses the Prime Minister of "mishandling" the situation in calling a vote before the UN report.
However Conservative Mr Swire, who is also the Minister of State for Foreign Policy, partially blamed the "shadow of the Iraq War" for the MPs' hesitancy to back the principle of military action.
"Neither the Government motion or the Labour motion was passed – this has left us in an extraordinarily unfavourable position where we have to sit on the sidelines and watch this appalling humanitarian suffering continue," he said. "If the US and France decide not to go ahead and take action, which I think they will, Assad will have got away with it and there's nothing we can do.
"If it's the case, and we believe it is, that Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people, this is a war crime and if we do not hold him to account he will most likely do it again and again.
"And what signal does this send out, that a dictator can violate every international convention, something that was outlawed after World War One?
"This is rendering international law impotent – because unless you do take action what's the point of it?
"We need to think about the impact of sitting idly by."
Mr Swire said that Tory members who voted against their leader were a combination of those who "don't want any intervention at any cost" and disillusioned backbenchers with a "history" of voting against the Prime Minister.
"Right the way through, all the discussions Ed Miliband was involved in gave no indication he wasn't supportive until the eleventh hour – had he been more straightforward this wouldn't have happened," he added.
"There is a view that he was supportive and there was hardly any difference in the Labour motion and the Government's, but he didn't have the support from his party so he was in a terribly difficult situation.
"But he's chosen to play party politics with national policy."
Labour MP Mr Bradshaw said recalling MPs to debate the issue was "precipitous".
"I am worried about the fate of innocent civilians in Syria and if the international community does not respond this sends a dangerous message," he said.
"This will certainly impact on Britain's reputation for taking a stand on human rights and morality but I don't think it's terminal, the result we have wasn't the result of deliberate and conscious decision but the massive miscalculation of the Prime Minister.
"David Cameron has handled this whole situation abysmally and made Parliament and the country feel they were being forced into making a precipitate decision about military action, before presenting the evidence and before allowing UN weapons inspectors to complete their work in Damascus," he added.
"Because of the Prime Minister's mishandling, Parliament has rejected any of the options," he continued. "If the Government had supported the Labour amendment or had waited until next week, then the vote may have gone through.
"This was a dreadful miscalculation and the outcome was not what he or Ed Miliband intended.
"This was asking for a decision before the evidence. The report the Government has published is not evidence, we're still waiting for the full details of American intelligence and the weapons inspectors' report.
"This was the wrong time to have the vote and I believe that had David Cameron waited, or supported Ed Miliband's amendment, we would have been able to achieve a majority."
The MP and former cabinet member refuted Mr Swire's assertion that the vote was affected by the "shadow" of the Iraq War, blaming the party's "own incompetence".
He added: "Ed Miliband has shown great courage and leadership and exposed the impetuosity and incompetence of David Cameron, but I don't think where we are is where we expected to be. If other countries now respond to Assad's use of chemical weapons, we'll be on the sidelines."