British MP's vote to start air strikes in Syria

Cameron gets his wish as war planes prepare to strike in Syria
Cameron gets his wish as war planes prepare to strike in Syria

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said MPs took the "right decision to keep the UK safe" after they overwhelmingly backed air strikes against Islamic State in Syria.

RAF jets and drones are poised to carry out air strikes on the jihadist terror group within hours.

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.

Some 66 Labour MPs voted with the government while seven Conservatives opposed the plans for military action.

Mr Cameron said: "I believe the House has taken the right decision to keep the UK safe - military action in Syria as one part of a broader strategy."

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Britain was "safer tonight" following the decision.

He told Sky News: "We are very pleased that a significant number of Labour MPs have voted with the Government tonight so we have got a clear majority across the House of Commons in support of the action that we are now going to be taking to degrade this evil terrorist organisation.

"Britain is safer tonight because of the decision that the House of Commons has taken."

Mr Hammond said air strikes would now be carried out "as quickly as possible" but conceded the campaign will not be over swiftly.

He told BBC2' s Newsnight: "I cannot believe us stopping air strikes against Daesh in Raqqa for so long as they represent a threat to us, a threat to British citizens and a threat to the British homeland. No, we would have to continue with those air strikes."

Asked if the air strikes would continue for as long as four years, Mr Hammond said: "I hope it won't be four years, but I caution that it isn't going to be months."

A ground war to finish off IS will not be possible until a political settlement to the Syrian civil war is reached and rebel groups, the Damascus government and the Kurds are all able to turn their fire on the terror group, he said.

If this is not delivered within two years, as planned by the Vienna peace talks, "that won't mean that we give up and go home", said the Foreign Secretary.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn continued to voice his disapproval of the air strikes with this social media message: