British Prime Minister David Cameron urges parliament to vote to approve British air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Prime Minister David Cameron urged parliament to vote on Wednesday (December 2) to approve British air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria after months of wrangling over whether enough opposition Labour lawmakers would back military action. "The question before the house today, is how we keep the British people safe from the threat posed by ISIL. Let me be clear from the outset, this is not about whether we want to fight terrorism, it is about it is about how best we do that," he said at the start of a 10-hour debate due to culminate in a vote at around 2100 GMT. He added: "The question is this - do we work with our allies to degrade and destroy this threat and do we go after these terrorists in their heartlands from where they are plotting to kill British people, or do we sit back and wait for them?" However, Cameron faced a possible stiffening of opposition in Labour ranks after media reports he urged his Conservative Party lawmakers at a private meeting late on Tuesday not to vote with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers". Many lawmakers demanded Cameron apologise for his remark. Cameron has said he believes British warplanes, which have been bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq for more than a year, should also be tackling the group in Syria rather than "sub-contract" national security to other countries. He said that any air strikes on IS in Syria would not increase the likelihood of militant attacks on Britain. "If there is an attack on the UK in the coming weeks or months, there will be those who try to say it has happened because of our air strikes, I do not believe that will be the case. Daesh have been trying to attack us for the last year, as we know from the seven different plots that our security services have foiled. The terrorist threat level to the UK was raised to severe last August in light of the threat from Daesh, meaning attack is highly likely," he said. The November 13 Islamic State attacks that killed 130 people in Paris gave momentum to Cameron's push for air strikes, but critics have questioned whether the action would significantly add to international efforts to defeat the group. Keen to avoid a repeat of a humiliating 2013 parliamentary defeat over plans to bomb the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Cameron had made it clear he would not bring a vote to parliament if he did not think he could win it. That appeared more likely after Corbyn, a veteran anti-war campaigner who says strikes would be ineffective and kill civilians, said on Monday he would allow his lawmakers to vote according to their conscience rather than directing them to follow his lead.