What should the government do now about Syria?

What should the government do now about Syria?

A committee dominated by Conservative MPs has just concluded that any UK military action in Syria would have a "marginal effect".

Video report by ITV News deputy political editor Chris Ship:

Meanwhile, two newspapers report the government has completely abandoned the push for a Commons vote on extending air strikes from Iraq (where UK jets fire missiles) to Syria (where they don't).

Number 10 - since late last night - has been pushing back hard: "Nothing has changed" sources say.

And it's true - nothing has changed.

The vote in the Commons was never going to happen unless the Government could be sure of winning it.

David Cameron will not risk the kind of humiliating defeat he suffered when he last asked the Commons to approve military action in Syria two years ago.

But something has changed.

It's been described to me from inside Whitehall - as a "non-public change in posture".

In other words, behind closed doors Downing Street has concluded that the likelihood that Mr Cameron will be able to secure a parliamentary majority is lessening, not increasing.

Air strikes would be intended to target IS militants Credit: Balkis Press/ABACA

The SNP will oppose.

So too the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters.

And the number of Labour MPs who are willing to defy their leader and support military strikes is thought to be around 50.

But ministers and government whips are not sure how steadfast those Labour MPs are in their support.

And so, we come back to the crucial dynamic here: David Cameron will not move towards a vote unless he is certain he will win.

A committee has decided that UK military action in Syria would have Credit: Abd Rabbo Ammar/ABACA/

The problem isn't just the lack of Labour MPs to support his plans - it's that the number of Tory MPs who will oppose them is just as large - if not a little larger - than two years ago.

And for military action to happen, that number must be smaller.

The Government has failed to get enough MPs on board.

And today's report from the Foreign Affairs Committee has been a major set back.