WOKING’S Conservative MP Jonathan Lord told the News & Mail he would be supporting British air strikes against so-called Islamic State in Syria when the vote was cast in Parliament yesterday (Wednesday).
In the wake of the recent Paris blood baths, the Prime Minister had been building his ‘compelling’ case for the RAF to extend its action from Iraq to Syria, but had said he would only call for a vote in Parliament if he was confident of winning.
On Monday this week, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was forced by the Shadow Cabinet to back down from trying to adopt a party policy opposing the air strikes – he subsequently granted his MPs a free vote.
On the back of this, it was announced the same evening that David Cameron would be calling on Parliament to discuss action against IS in Syria on Wednesday [in place of Parliament Question Time].
Mr Lord told the News & Mail: “In August 2013, the public opinion was two-to-one against military action.”
Two years ago Parliament – including 30 Conservative rebels – voted against Mr Cameron’s bid for action on Syria, albeit to deter the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons rather than IS.
Since then the so-called Islamic State organisation has emerged in both Iraq and Syria, and their terrorists have massacred innocent people around the world, targeting aid workers, journalists (‘Jihadi’ John, for example), tourists in Tunisia, a Russian airliner over Egypt, and the public on the streets of Paris.
As the News & Mail went to press, Mr Lord added: “It’s now clear from polls that public opinion is heavily in favour of military action against IS – everyone has been appalled by the atrocities.
“I support my Prime Minister and Government and I hope that many moderate and sensible Labour MPs will also vote in favour of appropriate British support for action in Syria.” Mr Cameron would need enough Labour MPs to back military intervention to make up for the Conservatives who opposed the action, although after the Paris attacks last month it is thought that a possible two-thirds of those who rebelled against air strikes in 2013 have changed their minds.
Mr Cameron said that the RAF bombing raids against IS targets in Iraq – authorised by MPs in September 2014 – had been ‘successful’ and that taking strike action against such a threat to our national security ‘is the right thing to do’.
He added that Washington and Paris want the UK engaged because not only are we a leading nation, but because the RAF has particular capabilities suited to dynamic targeting: the Raptor reconnaissance pods on the Tornado aircraft enable it to deliver small but highly acc-urate Brimstone missiles, which other nations can’t provide.