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British leader sets Syria airstrikes debate for today

Published:Tuesday | December 1, 2015 | 9:55 AM
A peace protestor holds placards outside Downing Street, London, yesterday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron


Prime Minister David Cameron called for a debate and vote in Parliament today on whether Britain should launch airstrikes against militants in Syria, arguing that the nation must stand with its allies in confronting extremism.

Cameron's statement on Monday comes only hours after Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn decided that Labour Party lawmakers would be allowed to vote their conscience on the matter, rather than to keep party discipline and have a unified stance.

The move by the Labour leader gave Cameron confidence he had the votes to clinch an expansion of the mandate of British forces to hit Islamic State group militants, also known as ISIL or ISIS, not just in Iraq, but Syria as well.

"I can announce that I will be recommending to Cabinet tomorrow that we hold a debate and a vote in the House of Commons to extend the airstrikes that we have carried out against ISIL in Iraq to Syria, that we answer the call from our allies and work with them because ISIL is a threat to our country and this is the right thing to do," he said.