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Benn shows support for extending airstrikes into Syria

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn has shown public support for Britain carrying out airstrikes in Syria after a shadow cabinet minister told ITV News a "clear majority" of the shadow cabinet was in favour of backing the Prime Minister's plan.

Hilary Benn said Britain should support its allies by playing "our full part" in the fight against Islamic State in Syria. Credit: PA Wire

Mr Benn said there were "compelling arguments" for RAF strikes in Iraq being extended into Syria.

We are trying to make life difficult for Isil/Daesh in Syria and I think there's a very strong case for us playing our full part in doing that, given that we are currently flying missions, providing intelligence and refuelling to others who are participating.

I think our allies look to us - particularly the French, after the grievous blow they have suffered in Paris - and they want to feel we are with them in solidarity, and I think we should be.

– Hilary Benn, speaking to the BBC

Mr Benn's shadow cabinet colleague Diane Abbot, though, said she was "not sure (air strikes) would make British people safer at all".

Blair says he and 'many Labour MPs' support airstrikes

Tony Blair has backed David Cameron's plan for airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria and said "many Labour MPs" are also supportive of the Prime Minister.

Tony Blair, seen with David Cameron in March, said the threat from IS was the biggest security challenge of the 21st century. Credit: PA Archive

Speaking to Matt Forde on the comedian's Political Party podcast, the former prime minster said:

I think it's important that we take strong action against Isis and take that action against them where they are headquartered, which is in Syria, so obviously I would support that.

But this is going to be a long hard struggle, not just against Isis in Syria, but you have got Isis, you have got Jabhat al-Nusra, you've got al-Qaida, you've got al-Shabaab, you've got Boko Haram, you've got these groups that have proliferated all over the world.

This is the biggest security challenge of the 21st century and it's going to take a long time to defeat it and you have to defeat a number of different levels.

– Tony Blair
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