Corbyn faces shadow cabinet revolt over Syria air strikes

Jeremy Corbyn has cancelled a visit to a by-election campaign in Oldham amid a shadow cabinet revolt over air strikes in Syria.

Mr Corbyn told Labour MPs that he cannot support the strikes, prompting a furious reaction and resignation threats from the shadow cabinet.

On Thursday, David Cameron urged the House of Commons to back military action against so-called Islamic State in Syria, saying the group posed a "serious and undeniable" threat to Britain.

But in a letter to his MPs, Mr Corbyn rejected Mr Cameron's claim that air strikes would make Britain safer.

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Corbyn 'wants to whip MPs to vote against airstrikes'

Jeremy Corbyn wants to whip Labour MPs into voting against the Government's proposed airstrikes in Syria, a Labour source has told ITV News.

The position puts the Labour leader at clear odds with "many of his shadow cabinet", who want a whipped vote in favour of the action outlined by David Cameron, the source said.


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

'Clear majority' of shadow cabinet supports PM on Syria

A "clear majority" of the shadow cabinet is in favour of supporting the Prime Minister's plan for the UK to begin air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, a shadow cabinet minister has told ITV News.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship was told, though, that no decision on a vote on airstrikes was taken after the 90 minute meeting and the group will meet again Monday to conclude discussions.

He tweeted:


Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee backs PM's Syria plan

Crispin Blunt

The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Crispin Blunt has backed the Prime Minister's plan for Syria.

David Cameron has set out a seven-point plan for targeting so-called Islamic State.

Mr Blunt was previously sceptical of extending action in Syria but has recently shifted his stance.

The committee has recently been to the region to "gain perspective" on the situation.

He said his personal view is now that the country’s interests would best be served by Britain joining air strikes against Isis.

The committee will discuss its collective view next week.

On balance, the country would be best served by this house supporting his judgement that the UK should play a full role in the coalition to best support and shape the politics thus enabling the earliest military and ideological defeat of Isil.

– Crispin Blunt
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