UK Politics

UK's Syria debate: Key quotes and clips

House of Commons

MPs have voted to authorise air strikes against so-called Islamic State in Syria, following a ten-hour debate in the House of Commons. Here are some of the key contributions, plus a couple from the House of Lords, which also held a debate.


Prime Minister David Cameron

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Media captionDavid Cameron insisted he was "not ignoring the risks" of military action in Syria

"This is not about whether we want to fight terrorism, it's about how best we do that. 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 to attack us."


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn emphasised the "potentially far-reaching consequences" of the government's vote on intervention in Syria

"For all members to take a decision that will put British servicemen and women in harm's way and almost inevitably lead to the deaths of innocents is a heavy responsibility. It must be treated with the utmost seriousness and respect given to those who make a different judgment about the right course of action to take."


Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn

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Media captionHilary Benn's Syria speech was heavily applauded by MPs

"We must now confront this evil. It is now time for us to do our bit in Syria. And that is why I ask my colleagues to vote for this motion tonight."


Conservative MP Sir Alan Duncan

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Media caption'Syria decision shouldn't be based on yesterday's mistakes'

Sir Alan told the House if it chose to "remain on the sidelines" it would signal to the world that the UK had chosen to "withdraw". He said MPs should not be in the business of "national resignation".


Angus Robertson, the SNP's Westminster leader

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Media captionSNP's Robertson: I hope the PM regrets what he said

"I appeal to colleagues on all sides to make sure that we do not ignore the lessons of Afghanistan, ignore the lessons of Iraq, ignore the lessons of Libya. Let's not repeat the mistakes of the past, let's not give the green light to military action without a comprehensive and credible plan to win the peace."


Gerald Kaufman, Labour MP and Father of the House

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Media captionGerald Kaufman: Air strikes in Syria are only a 'gesture'

"There's absolutely no evidence of any kind that bombing Daesh, or bombing Raqqa, will result in an upsurge of other people in the region to get rid of them."


Liam Fox, Conservative MP and former defence secretary

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Media captionLiam Fox: Relying on allies is 'national embarrassment'

Margaret Beckett, Labour MP and former foreign secretary

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Media captionMargaret Beckett warns of 'death and destruction' from inaction

"Some say simply innocent people are more likely to be killed. Military action does create casualties, however much we try to minimise them.

"So should we on those grounds abandon action in Iraq, even though undertaken at the request of Iraq's government and it does seem to be making a difference?

"Should we take no further action against Daesh, who are themselves killing innocent people and striving to kill more every day of the week? Or should we simply leave it to others?"


Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee

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Media captionCrispin Blunt criticises government for not including all terror groups

"Whilst the defeat of ISIL and its ideology will be the work of many decades, the retaking of this territory is an urgent and immediate requirement."


Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi

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Media captionTory MP Nadhim Zahawi reads out email from mother in Raqqa

Julian Lewis, Conservative MP and chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee

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Media captionJulian Lewis tells MPs there is no 'third option'

"I shall vote against air strikes in the absence of credible ground forces, as ineffective and potentially dangerous, just as I voted against the proposal to bomb Assad in 2013.

"Indeed, the fact that the British government wanted to bomb first one side and then the other in the same civil war, in such a short space of time, illustrates to my mind a vacuum at the heart of our strategy."


Green Party MP Caroline Lucas

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Media captionLucas: Case for strikes lacks evidence

Alan Johnson, Labour MP and former home secretary

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Media captionAlan Johnson attacks 'finger-jabbing' activists

Labour MP Yvette Cooper

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Media captionYvette Cooper will vote for air strikes

The former shadow home secretary said she did not think coalition air strikes on so-called Islamic State in Syria should stop.

"And if they're not to stop and France asks for our help, I don't think we can say no," she added.


Nigel Dodds, the DUP's Westminster leader

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Media captionDemocratic Unionists will vote for Syria air strikes

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron

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Media captionTim Farron outlines why the Liberal Democrats will vote for Syria air strikes

"If we were just being asked to bomb Syria I'd be voting no, I'd be out there demonstrating in between the speeches, I'd be signing up to those emails from the Stop the War Coalition.

"But this is not just a case of bombing, this is standing with the United Nations and the international community to do what is right by people who are the most beleaguered of all."


Conservative MP David Davis

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Media captionDavid Davis urges UK to demand allies 'do their job'

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams

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Media captionPlaid MP: Chilcot could have helped debate

SNP foreign affairs spokesman Alex Salmond

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Media captionAlex Salmond: PM has 'failed to unite' country

Conservative MP Caroline Spelman

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Media captionCaroline Spelman on role of faith in conflict

Labour MP Dan Jarvis

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Media captionDan Jarvis sets out why he will be voting for strikes

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

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Media captionWelby: UK can use its 'expertise' in Syria

"Our bombing action plays into the expectation of Isil and other jihadist groups in the region, springing from their apocalyptic theology.

"The totality of our actions must subvert that false narrative because by itself it will not work."


William Hague, former Conservative foreign secretary

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Media captionWilliam Hague in Syria partition warning

Labour MP Alison McGovern

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Media captionMcGovern will 'hold PM to account'

SNP MP Philippa Whitford

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Media captionSNP's Whitford warns of Syria 'chaos'

Labour MP Shabana Mahmood

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Media captionShabana Mahmood on opposing strikes

Labour MP David Lammy

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Media captionDavid Lammy: Terror attacks are acts of 'holy war' and will create new extremists