British PM ‘Wants Syrian Airstrikes Within Two Weeks’

David Cameron’s new push for support from MPs comes as the Chancellor unveils plans to buy 138 stealth fighter jets for £12bn.

David Cameron is launching a final attempt to win backing for airstrikes in Syria – with MPs expected to vote in the Commons within the next fortnight.

The first bombing raids against Islamic State would begin within hours of a “yes” vote, The Sunday Times has reported.

Mr Cameron is to start privately warning MPs that the UK needs to act like “Churchill not Chamberlain” if it wishes to defeat terrorism.

Downing Street sources told the newspaper that Mr Cameron is preparing a seven-point plan for military intervention, including a blueprint for Syria’s future.

This report would be in response to the findings of the influential Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, which warned against military involvement until there was an international strategy in place to end the conflict.

The Prime Minister’s push for airstrikes comes as the Chancellor plans to announce that Britain is purchasing 138 stealth fighter jets in a £12bn deal.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, George Osborne said the investment will ensure the UK has the world’s second most potent carrier strike force after the United States, with the resources to tackle IS and other extremist groups for a generation.

The purchase, which goes far beyond what military experts expected, is reportedly the centre piece of the Government’s strategic defence review, to be published on Monday.

However, the Navy is likely to suffer considerable scale-backs. Two existing warships are to be pulled off front line duty, and plans to field a fleet of 13 brand-new frigates are being watered down on cost grounds, according to the newspaper.

On Monday, David Cameron is meeting French President Francois Hollande for talks on how to tackle IS in Iraq and Syria.

This gathering follows the unanimous UN backing of France’s call to redouble action against the extremist group following the Paris attacks – however, the resolution passed does not provide any legal basis for an intervention.

A ComRes poll performed for the Sunday Mirror and The Independent On Sunday suggested that 46% of Britons believe the UK should participate in airstrikes against IS – with or without UN approval. However, 32% of those surveyed disagree.

In a speech to activists in Bristol on Saturday, Jeremy Corbyn appeared to rule out military intervention in Syria – but MPs within his own party have warned it would be “deplorable” if Labour failed to back in the Government in a Commons vote.

Source: PM ‘Wants Syrian Airstrikes Within Two Weeks’


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