Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he will ask Parliament this week to approve a bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria. Speaking alongside French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Cameron outlined his “firm conviction” that the UK should join in the US-led air campaign and said he will put his plans to a parliamentary vote.
It’s a massive risk for Cameron to ask parliament to approve military action at the moment because he can’t be certain that he won’t be defeated.
The big problem Cameron faces is that about twenty of his MPs will almost certainly not approve military action. With a majority of only twelve, the Conservatives might need some votes from other parties to get the plans approved. It is very unlikely that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will approve the plans and it’s still not clear whether he will allow his MPs a free vote on the issue. A small number of Labour MPs would probably rebel against their leader, but Cameron can’t simply can’t be certain of the support he would receive.
It was really embarrassing for the Cameron-led coalition government when it lost a similar vote in 2013 to take part in an air campaign against the Syrian regime. It was bad for Cameron to lose a vote on bombing Syria once, if he loses another one people will start to question his judgement and possibly even his suitability to be leader.