MPs have voted in favour of authorising airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria. The vote passed 397 to 223, with a majority of 174.
Speaking on the floor of the House of Commons, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the group posed a significant threat to the UK, and there was a compelling moral threat to proceed.
“What kind of a country would we be if we ignored the calls for help from our nearest neighbours even if they grieve for their dead,” Hammond said. “We cannot rely on others to take actions to protect our citizens that we are not willing to take ourselves.”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 2, 2015
In a message on Twitter, Prime Minister David Cameron said MPs made the UK safer with this vote. Cameron said the strikes would degrade Islamic State militants, according to a report from Reuters.
I believe the House has taken the right decision to keep the UK safe – military action in Syria as one part of a broader strategy.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) December 2, 2015
British parliament votes to bomb Islamic State in Syria https://t.co/7VeO5ibp2f
— Kylie MacLellan (@kyliemaclellan) December 2, 2015
In a post on his Facebook page after the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the case for airstrikes did not stack up.
However, Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn said it was time for the UK to do its bit.
The SNP had been against the measure, with its leader, Nicola Sturgeon, saying earlier this week that its MPs would vote against it. Speaking on the floor of the Commons, SNP Foreign Affairs spokesman Alex Salmond said MPs should not have given Cameron support on the vote.
The vote came at the culmination of an all-day debate that was at times heated. The debate included calls from Corbyn, as well as MPs including the SNP’s Alex Salmond, called on Cameron to retract remarks made during a meeting with Conservative MPs, saying that MPs that voted against the government sympathised with terrorism.
— ITV News (@itvnews) December 2, 2015
A poll done for the Times newspaper in conjunction with YouGov indicated that less than half of voters had backed airstrikes.
— Richard Fletcher (@fletcherr) December 2, 2015
It is unclear as to when airstrikes would begin, but reports suggest they could begin within hours or within days. A report from The Independent, attributing an interview Hammond did with Channel 4 News, indicates that they could start as early as tomorrow night.
British air strikes in Syria will ‘probably’ start tomorrow night, Philip Hammond says https://t.co/gg9Mn0mcX3
— Lizzie Dearden (@lizziedearden) December 2, 2015
Reports indicated that the motion tabled indicated that ground combat operations would not take place. Reached by telephone, a Ministry of Defence spokesperson confirmed to Kettle that ground combat operations would not proceed.
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