UK to vote soon on air strikes in Syria

The Guardian reports:

MPs are moving towards a consensus in favour of military action against Islamic State in , Philip Hammond has said.

Speaking at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, the foreign secretary declared there was a growing feeling in parliament that something must be done to tackle Isis in its Syrian stronghold as well as Iraq.

“We have made a very clear commitment that before we get involved in airstrikes in Syria – other than very targeted cases where we are dealing with direct threats to the UK – yes, we would come back to parliament and get the authorisation,” he told the BBC after addressing the main hall.

“And I think there is a sense that there is a beginning of consensus now in parliament that this has to be dealt with, that we have to take the fight with IS to Raqqa in Syria, rather than just attacking them in Iraq.”

His comments suggest the government is feeling more confident about calling a vote in the Commons, which David Cameron will only do if he knows he can win. The prime minister would need to rely on some Labour votes, given the number of his own party who would be likely to rebel.

Although the Labour conference voted not to support strikes without UN backing, many of the party’s MPs are known to be sympathetic to the government’s aims as long as a good case is made to parliament.

It will be fascinating to see how many Labour MPs vote in favour, and how many Conservative MPs vote against. The last time the Commons voted, the motion was lost. But it looks like the growing threat of ISIL has changed things.

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