- David Cameron has said it is his “firm conviction” that Britain should extend its airstrikes against Islamic State (Isis) targets from Iraq to Syria, as he announced plans to set out a comprehensive strategy to win a Commons vote. In a statement to the Commons Cameron said that the Paris attacks had made the case for military intervention stronger, and that he would personally be giving a statement replying to the foreign affairs committee report expressing concerns about the idea of extending air strikes.Crispin Blunt, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, said he hoped the government would come up with a plan that would allow the British armed forces to play a role that would “lead to the defeat of [Isis] in both Syria and Iraq sooner rather than later”. During Cameron’s 90-minute Commons statement a series of Labour MPs, likeEmma Reynolds Pat McFadden , and Ian Austin (see 2.19pm)stood up to disown Jeremy Corbyn’s recent comments on fighting terrorism. Corbyn has suffered a serious backlash over interviews he gave yesterday, and this may help to explain why Cameron seems more confident of winning a vote on air strikes; with his authority weakened, Corbyn may find it harder to get Labour MPs to vote against. Earlier in an interview Hilary Benn, the shadow foreign secretary, struggled to defend what Corbyn said about “shoot to kill”.
- Corbyn used his reply to Cameron’s statement to say the prime minister should not “feed a cycle of violence and hatred” when responding to the Paris attacks. Addressing Cameron, the Labour leader said:
It’s vital at a time of such tragedy and outrage not to be drawn into responses which feed a cycle of violence and hatred. President Obama has said Isis grew out of our invasion of Iraq and it’s one of its unintended consequences. Will you consider this as one of the very careful responses that President Obama has made recently on this matter?
- Corbyn has clarified his stance on “shoot to kill”, saying he would authorise the use of lethal force against terrorists in the UK in exceptional circumstances to protect life if he were elected prime minister.
- George Osborne, the chancellor, has said British spies will significantly step up their efforts to attack terrorists in cyberspace in the face of Islamic State militants who want to use the internet to kill people.
- Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, has said migrants are “extraordinarily well informed” about which countries have the most generous welfare systems. Giving evidence to the Commons European scrutiny committee, he said:
The anecdotal research is that migrants coming into the EU from outside, as we have recently seen, and migrants within the EU, are extraordinarily well informed about the systems operating in different countries and how they will be able to interact with them - and will make calculations about their own net position at the end of the week or the month.
I think it would be counter-intuitive to suggest that removing an average of around £6/700 a month of benefits from the pay packet would not be a factor in people’s calculation when they look at possibly higher wages in a country like Germany but less generous in-work benefits.