MPs back British military action against Islamic State

Prime Minister David Cameron, with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (right), sits down after speaking during the debate in the House of Commons on extending the bombing campaign against Islamic State to Syria.
Prime Minister David Cameron, with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (right), sits down after speaking during the debate in the House of Commons on extending the bombing campaign against Islamic State to Syria.
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British war planes are poised to begin a bombing campaign in Syria tomorrow after MPs overwhelmingly backed military action against Islamic State (IS).

RAF jets and drones are ready to launch air strikes “very quickly” and raids on the jihadist terror group could begin within 24 hours, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.

MPs voted by 397 to 223 in favour of extending British action to quash IS from Iraq into its Syrian strongholds - a majority of 174.

David Cameron told the Commons the “women-raping, Muslim-murdering, medieval monsters” of IS were “plotting to kill us and to radicalise our children right now” as he laid out his case for intervention at the start of more than 10 hours of debate.

But critics of the plan disputed claims that 70,000 moderate fighters would be able to take on IS, also knowns as Isis, Isil and Daesh, on the ground.

Tory chairman defence select committee Julian Lewis warned warned that “instead of having dodgy dossiers, we now have bogus battalions of moderate fighters”.

Mr Hammond admitted the moderates were not a “homogeneous” group but insisted they were “all pointing their guns in the same direction”.

Air strikes could be launched “very quickly”, the Foreign Secretary told Channel 4 News.

“Probably not tonight but it could be tomorrow night,” he added.