Britain world role in question after defeat over Syria action: Osborne

LONDON Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:40am EDT

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne arrives to speak at a news conference at the conclusion of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission for the 2013 Article IV Consultations with the United Kingdom in central London May 22, 2013. REUTERS/Carl Court/POOL

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne arrives to speak at a news conference at the conclusion of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission for the 2013 Article IV Consultations with the United Kingdom in central London May 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Carl Court/POOL

LONDON (Reuters) - The government's defeat in parliament over military action in Syria will spark a debate about whether Britain still wants to play a major role in the world, finance minister George Osborne said on Friday.

"There will be a national soul-searching about our role in the world and whether Britain wants to play a big part in upholding the international system," Osborne told the BBC.

When asked whether the parliamentary defeat for Prime Minister David Cameron would damage Britain's alliance with the United States, Osborne said: "There's a bit of hyperbole on this in the last twenty four hours. The relationship with the United States is a very old one, very deep and operates on many layers."

(Reporting by Costas Pitas and Andrew Osborne, editing by Guy Faulconbridge)