Britain prepares for airstrikes in Iraq – live


Live coverage as MPs vote on Government motion to strike Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Iraq within hours

By Georgia Graham, Political Correspondent

The Ukip leader said that if he was an MP and had a vote he would vote against the strikes and said that Britain’s streets would not be safe following air strikes in Iraq.

He accused Mr Cameron of making an “absolute pig’s ear of foreign policy”.

He told Sky News: “Here’s Mr Cameron urging us to launch these bombing raids, this time last year Mr Cameron was actually urging us to arm many of the people that have actually morphed into Isis, so we have made an absolute pig’s ear of foreign policy over the last ten to fifteen years… The fact that party leaders agree around a policy does not make them right.”

08.01: Diane Abbot MP: We have seen how this movie and we know how it ends

Last year, on August 29, MPs voterd 285 to 219 against air strikes in Syria. Diane Abbot, a shadow minister at the time, threatened to resign if her party supported the action. In the event Mr Miliband, the Labour leader, opposed it.

Despite the current prospective strikes being legal she said she would again vote against miltary action.

MPs, she said “have all been horrified by the massacres” and the beheadings, but “the truth is that a lot of MPs have misgivings about this. We have seen this movie and we know how it ends.

She added: “I think it is a more complicated situation that the decision on Syria was last year I think it is more complex now I understand why it has been harder for Ed MIliband to say no… but the fact remains that we are in for the long haul, we are going to spend billions of pounds and the military action is going to be no more successful than the original Iraq war.”

07.40: Foreign Secretary: We cannot standby, we have to rise to that challenge today

Philip Hammond said that Britain’s hostages will not be put at risk by a decision to join the strikes. They are “hugely threatened” whatever happens, he says.

“It is not a case that British hostages are safe if we don’t go in and unsafe if we do go in. their safety is hugely threatened because of the nature of what Isil is, because of the nature of what Isil does

“We cannot standby, we cannot look on as they murder thousands of people displace a million people in Iraq, take western hostages and execute them in the most horrific way. We cannot stand by, we have to respond ot that challenge and I am sure MPs will rise that challenge today.

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the recall of Parliament over the plan to launch air strikes in Iraq. This morning MPs vote on whether Britain should beging bombing Islamic State militants in Iraq.

It is likely that there will not be a repeat of last year’s vote on Syria, when Labour and dozens of Conservative backbenchers voted against a military intervention.

This time around there is no question of whether strikes in Iraq are illegal and strikes in Syria are not currently on the table with ministers promising further debate and another vote.

The general mood amongst MPs and ministers across the spectrum is that the brutality of IS and the request from the Iraqi Government for support mean that a vote to authorise strikes is likely. This vote would not be happening at all if there was a sense that this was would be lost. David Cameron would not risk a repeat of the scarring loss last year.

However some MPs and their constituents have very clear memories of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and any bombing in the region will be simply unacceptable.

In fact, it is the scars from the Iraq war which have left Britain in the position that a debate and a vote must happen before a strike. President Obama and other European leaders made no such request and simply ordered the attack, but public mood in Britain would not allowe a British Prime Minister to make such a decision.

The vote on strikes is expected at 5.30pm. Is it is a yes British Tornadoes could be dropping bombs on IS strongholds in Iraq within hours.



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