In the past few minutes, David Cameron has published his response to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on the case for British action against Islamic State in Syria. You can read the response here.
The Prime Minister argues that the threat to Britain is so great that ‘now is the time to scale up British diplomatic, defence and humanitarian efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict and to defeat ISIL’. ‘The threat Isil poses to Britain and to our citizens today is serious and undeniable’, he says, warning that Britain must act before the terrorists succeed in an attack again this country.
Cameron’s challenge from MPs was to set out what Britain could actually achieve by joining the strikes, and what the objective of the campaign would be. He writes:
‘The objective of our counter-Isil campaign is to degrade Isil’s capabilities so that it no longer presents a significant terrorist three to the UK or an existential threat to Iraq, Syria or other states. We are working alongside our partners, including in the coalition, to deny Isil safe havens from which to operate, to prevent Isil from obtaining the resources to mount attacks, and to counter its poisonous ideology.’
And he argues, as Michael Fallon did on Coffee House last week, that Britain brings a ‘qualitative edge’ to the campaign, that it has ‘world-leading military capabilities to contribute’. If the UK doesn’t join in, ’we leave other nations, including those less capable than us and with whom we have collective defence arrangements, to meet our security needs for us’.
The Prime Minister is about to address MPs. We will find out in the next few hours and days how effective this response is at persuading them.