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Shadow cabinet members split over Syria free vote

Diane Abbott and Ian Murray have made their views on a free vote clear Credit: PA

Shadow cabinet ministers appear split over whether Labour MPs should be given a free vote on Syria ahead of a meeting which is expected to see leader Jeremy Corbyn make a decision over whether or not to force MPs to oppose proposed airstrikes.

Diane Abbott, shadow international development secretary, told Radio 4's Today programme Corbyn should order MPs to vote against airstrikes as the "problem about a free vote is it hands victory to Cameron".

She said: "Jeremy does not want to have either sackings or resignations, none of us want to lose valued colleagues. However, I think the party and increasingly the public would be disappointed if we didn't oppose these airstrikes to the limits of our ability."

But shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said he felt members should be given a free vote as everyone had their own "strong views" on the matter.

He said: "The problem that I think Jeremy has got, the problem that the leader of the opposition has, is that he has never abided by the discipline of the leader or of the shadow cabinet.

"He may try and impose this on the shadow cabinet. I think that would be wrong in this particular instance because I think people have very strong views one way or another."

Charles and PM arrive amid Attenborough scepticism

Prince Charles and David Cameron have both arrived at the climate change talks in Paris as world leaders and dignitaries descend on the French capital.

The Prime Minister will call for a robust deal that shows governments around the globe are serious about cutting carbon, though environmental commentators remain sceptical of agreements being forged.

Prince Charles is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech to delegates at COP21.
David Cameron has received criticism for curbing support for renewables and energy efficiency measures.

The prospects of genuine progress being made in Paris have been played down by veteran naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.

Of course I'm not confident. This is a hideous problem. Never in the history of humanity have all the people of the world got together to deal with one particular problem and agree on what the solution should be.

– Sir David Attenborough, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme


Pressure on Xi in Paris as China's pollution levels soar

As Chinese President Xi Jinping joins other world leaders in Paris to tackle climate change, Beijing has been placed on special alert after dangerous smog reached its highest level for more than a year.

Pollution levels in the Chinese capital have soared to 17 times higher than levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation.

One family in Beijing is among the millions wearing masks to shield themselves from the unsafe pollution. Credit: Reuters
Xi Jinping's place at the UN Conference of Parties (COP21) summit in Paris came as Beijing upgraded its pollution alert level to the second-highest 'orange'. Credit: Reuters
China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has claimed it is ahead of schedule in reaching pollution reduction targets. Credit: Reuters


Labour MPs set to find out if there will be free vote on Syria

Jeremy Corbyn is set to decide whether MPs will be allowed a free vote Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Labour MPs are set to find out if they will be allowed a free vote on Syria today as party leader Jeremy Corbyn is due to announce whether or not he will order party members to oppose the extension of British military action.

Corbyn has so far refused to say whether he will whip MPs into backing him in his opposition to the government's policy but he has made it clear it is his decision whether or not they will be given a free vote.

Speaking on BBC's Andrew Marr show on Sunday he said: "It is the leader who decides. I will make up my mind in due course."

The decision will come as Corbyn faces claims that more than 100 Labour MPs could be set to defy him as the government looks set to hold a vote on airstrikes in Syria this week.

Often wet and windy, with some snow in the north

Credit: Met Office

Rain will spread eastwards across Britain, heaviest across west Wales.

Hill snow will affect Northern Ireland, southern Scotland and northern England.

Northern Scotland looks brighter, but colder with wintry showers.

Southern England and south Wales will be mild, but windy.

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