Britain is in the top tier of countries IS terrorists are targeting and military action must be taken to protect the country, David Cameron has warned.
Making his case for airstrikes in Syria, the Prime Minister warned MPs that Britain should “act now” because “every day we don’t take action is a day ISIL grows stronger”.
And that seven attacks planned for British soil had been foiled in the past 12 months.
The Prime Minister said Britain’s allies – France and the US – had asked for help and said: “It is wrong for the United Kingdom to sub-contract its security to other countries, and expect the aircrews of other nations to carry the burdens and the risks of striking ISIL in Syria to stop terrorism here in Britain.”
David Cameron Mr Cameron has set out his case for extending military action from Iraq into Syria in a 33-page document to the Foreign Affairs Committee, which, in a report last month, warned against expansion.
In it he cautioned that Britain could be in for another long fight saying: “We should not expect this to happen quickly. It will require patience and persistence. But it is achievable.”
British forces have only recently withdrawn from Afghanistan after a 13-year involvement in conflict there – and in Iraq.
However, he said that lessons had been learned from the aftermath of the war in Iraq – and in Libya – and added that this time there was firm commitment to make sure there would be a functioning government in Syria to replace the Assad regime.
The document sets out Mr Cameron’s seven-point plan is to:
:: Maintain counter-terrorism capabilities to protect the UK
:: Advance a political settlement
:: Deliver a Syrian government that credibly represents all of the Syrian people
:: Defeat IS through military and wider action
:: Continue to provide humanitarian support to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people
:: Plan for the stabilisation and reconstruction of Syria
:: Work with international partners to mitigate the impact of IS on the stability of the region
Mr Cameron has promised there will be no airstrikes in Syria without a vote in the House of Commons and he told MPs that he would not put the issues to MPs unless he was assured of victory.
He said that if the matter went to the vote and the case for airstrikes was defeated it would be a “publicity coup” for IS.
The Prime Minister suffered embarrassment in 2013 when he was defeated on a vote for airstrike in Syria against the Bashar al Assad regime. He has said a similar defeat would damage the nation’s reputation.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the shadow chancellor John McDonnell were both briefed on the threat from Syria on Wednesday night ahead of Mr Cameron’s Commons statement.