Parliament is expected to be recalled on Friday to discuss British military intervention against Isis. David Cameron will hold talks with his Iraqi counterpart today, with Haider al-Abadi expected to make a formal request that Britain join the military action.
Labour is staying supportively non-committal at the moment, with Ed Miliband saying again on the Today programme that Labour hadn’t yet been approached, but that it would consider anything the government put on the table:
‘I think the situation in Syria is somewhat different, in that’s it’s not a democratic state, we’ve got the Assad regime in Syria, we called yesterday, we supported the American action, but we called yesterday for a UN security council resolution. I think for the legitimacy of the action taken in Syria it would be better to have a UN security council resolution.
‘I think the second thing I’d say about Syria – some people will be wondering whether we will be committing British ground troops – my emphatic answer to that is no.’
This clarified the line the leader gave in his speech to conference yesterday: Labour would prefer a UN Security Council resolution, but that’s not essential.
There has been a much bigger effort this time around – given everyone in the Tory party is still haunted by the Syria vote – to make the case to the public and to MPs for military intervention. Michael Fallon was at it again in his interview with James this week, evoking the spirit of the Invictus Games while urging MPs to have the ‘courage shown by our armed force’ when voting. Many of the opponents of military action in Syria last year are much more supportive this year, but I suspect that until a vote has passed, the Prime Minister and his colleagues – some of whom still think he could lose because of a troublemaking contingent in the party – won’t be complacent. They certainly shouldn’t.