I want MPs to back airstrikes in Syria, says Cameron

David Cameron
David Cameron
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David Cameron is attempting to pave the way for a second Commons vote on launching airstrikes in Syria, and said today that the Paris terror attacks show the case for action ‘grows stronger’.

He said he will try to convince MPs to back him so that there can be a ‘a strong vote’ to do ‘the right thing’ for the country. But Labour members remain split on the response to the Paris attacks, with one of leader Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies reminding members that a campaign in Syria is not ‘indisputable wisdom’.

Crowds gather to look at floral tributes and candles left at Place de la Republique (Republic Square), following the terrorist attacks on Friday evening.

Crowds gather to look at floral tributes and candles left at Place de la Republique (Republic Square), following the terrorist attacks on Friday evening.

Mr Cameron spoke hours before the French football team played England in a friendly at Wembley Stadium, where armed guards had been deployed. Before kick-off, English fans joined in an emotional rendition of the French national anthem.

In Germany, a friendly between the national football team and the Netherlands in Hannover was cancelled at short notice and the stadium evacuated after authorities received a warning about a possible bomb threat.

The Prime Minister said Friday night’s attacks in the French capital had shown the escalating threat from Isil, who he branded a death cult, and he will now prepare a comprehensive strategy outlining why British forces should intervene in Syria for the Foreign Affairs Select Committe.

He has previously been told by the committee of MPs that there is no case for action in Syria and in the summer of 2013 he lost a vote on on the same issue.

“We must ask ourselves if we really are doing all we can be doing, all we should be doing, to deal with the threat of Isil and the threat that it poses to us directly.”

Prime Minister David Cameron

Mr Cameron told the Commons: “We must ask ourselves if we really are doing all we can be doing, all we should be doing, to deal with the threat of Isil and the threat that it poses to us directly.

“Not just through the measures we are taking at home but by dealing with Isil on the ground in the territory that it controls.”

While Britain has been supporting the US, France, Jordan and the Gulf countries with intelligence, surveillance, and refuelling, he said the country could be doing far more.

He described the Isil stronghold of Raqqa in Syria as the ‘head of the snake’ where plots against the UK are orchestrated.

Leeds East MP Richard Burgon

Leeds East MP Richard Burgon

“We face a direct and growing threat to our country and we need to deal with it not just in Iraq, but in Syria too,” said Mr Cameron.

“I’ve always said there’s a strong case for us doing so.

“Our allies are asking us to do this and the case for doing so has only grown stronger after the Paris attacks.

“We should not expect others to carry the burden and the risk of protecting our country,” he said.

Military aircraft will be stationed in Turkey from early December if NATO agree, he added.

It is understood that there is no timetable set for a vote by the Government as they continue to gauge how much backing they would get from Labour.

They will only hold one when they are convinced they can win, however Mr Cameron is now pushing his case for military action with renewed vigour.

Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East, and shadow city minister, said shadow cabinet members had got it wrong backing intervention in Iraq and Libya, and willed members to ‘approach the issue with an open mind’.

He said: “There are some MPs who have probably taken the view that military action in Syria is indisputable wisdom. I disagree with them. Our Parliament got it gravely wrong on Iraq and Libya.”

“Not all Labour MPs and not all in the shadow cabinet team got it correct on Iraq so people should remind themselves that Jeremy Corbyn took what was not necessarily a universally popular decision on Iraq but in hindsight his judgement was correct.”

Just hours after the Labour leader said he was ‘not happy’ with the country’s shoot-to-kill policy in an interview with the BBC, he changed his mind and said he supported the use of ‘proportionate and strictly necessary force’ to save a life in an attack of the like seen in Paris.

Mr Corbyn warned the House of Commons yesterday of the country being drawn into cycles of violence abroad and that any military action must have UN backing.

He also condemned cuts to police budgets when officers are needed at such a crucial time in national security.