“British servicemen and women will now be in harm’s way and the loss of innocent lives is sadly almost inevitable”, wrote Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, on Facebook.
The House of Commons voted by 397 to 223 in favour of extending RAF action across the border from Iraq.
Hilary Benn spearheaded a show of defiance against Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday night as MPs voted in favour of air strikes against ISIL in Syria following his call to “confront this evil”.
The margin of victory was far great than expected and included 66 Labour MPs, 11 of whom were shadow ministers – further undermining Mr Corbyn’s position. The victory for David Cameron meant that eight British tornado jets will immediately begin launching strikes from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus.
Two jets took off from the base within an hour of the vote, according to The Telegraph.
The vote followed a rousing speech from the shadow foreign secretary in which he said Britain must attack the “fascists” of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant because “we never have, and we never should walk by on the other side of the road”.
“I accept there are arguments for not taking this form of action now. It is clear that many members have wrestled and may still be wrestling with what is the right thing to do is. I say the threat is now and there is rarely if every, perfect circumstance in which to deploy military force.”
As Mr Benn sat down to cheers from Labour and Tory MPs, Mr Corbyn stared ahead and refused to applaud.
— ITV News (@itvnews) December 2, 2015
MPs from both main parties shouted “outstanding” and “brilliant” and Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, called it “one of the truly great speeches” in parliamentary history.
Labour said Mr Corbyn was still in control of the party but described the vote as “very worrying”.
President Obama said, “Since the beginning of the counter-ISIL campaign the United Kingdom has been one of our most valued partners in fighting ISIL. We look forward to having British forces flying with the Coalition over Syria, and will work to integrate them into our Coalition Air Tasking Orders as quickly as possible.”
Prolonged applause and cheering for Hilary Benn from Tory and Labour MPs. I have never seen anything like it. Corbyn did NOT clap.
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) December 2, 2015
Stop the War campaigners chanting: “David Cameron shame on you, Hilary Benn shame on you”, also chanting they’re both terrorist sympathisers
— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) December 2, 2015