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Tom Watson asks PM for 'clarity' ahead of Syria vote

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has voiced his support for military intervention in Syria - but has asked Prime Minister David Cameron for more "clarity" on two points.

In a letter released by the party, Mr Watson - whose views oppose that of leader Jeremy Corbyn - said he believes there is "a compelling case for action".

But, he added, he and others in the party are concerned over a perceived lack of adequate ground strategy supporting air strikes, unlike in neighbouring Iraq where Britain has already launched airstrikes.

In addition, he called for greater detail on how plans to reach a political resolution in the country would progress.

Benn: Free vote is democracy, not weakness

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn has restated his intention to back airstrikes in Syria - but denied that the issue has caused rifts in the Labour party.

The Leeds Central MP argued that he believed leader Jeremy Corbyn's decision to allow MPs a free vote was a nod to democracy, rather than a sign of weakness.

I think Jeremy has shown really strong leadership in recognising that different people in the party - including in the shadow cabinet - have got different views, and said 'right, we will set out each of us what we think, and Parliament will decide'.

I think that is good for democracy - it's a different kind of politics to the one that you may be used to, but I think it's the right thing to do in those circumstances.

– Hilary Benn MP

However, he confirmed he was planning to vote in opposition to Mr Corbyn after tomorrow's debats.

"People are at risk, people are dying because of the activities of this organisation, and the fundamental question is: Are we going to play our full part, working with other nations, to try and resist this threat?" he said.

"I am persuaded that yes, we need to do precisely that."



Germany draws up plans to join military action in Syria

Germany has drawn up plans to join the military campaign against the so-called Islamic State in Syria, a government official said.

Germany's cabinet agreed plans to join military action in Syria Credit: Reuters

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed plans to deploy Tornado reconnaissance jets, refuelling aircraft, a frigate and up to 1,200 military personnel to the region.

The lower house of parliament will hold a vote tomorrow - the same day that British MPs will debate and vote on plans for the UK to join airstrikes in the war-torn country.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen ruled out any cooperation between German forces and President Bashar al-Assad or his troops

Germany's cabinet is made up of conservatives, led by Merkel, and the centre-left Social Democrats, with whom she shares power.

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