Jeremy Corbyn speaks on Paris attacks
The former chair of the Stop the War Coalition faces a row at the top of his party over the issue Getty

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote to his fellow MPs on 26 November outlining why he will not back air strikes on Syria. The left-winger and former chair of the Stop the War Coalition said he was unconvinced by David Cameron's case for UK military intervention in the Middle Eastern state.

The letter, which you can read below thanks to LabourList, has sparked a row at the top of the party and shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn has even argued that there is in fact a "compelling" case for RAF air strikes on Islamic State (Isis) targets in Syria in the wake of the terror attacks on Paris. The shadow cabinet is due to meet on 30 November to discuss the issue and to decide if Labour MPs will be given a free vote.

Dear Colleague,

The Prime Minister made a Statement to the House today making the case for a UK bombing campaign against Isis in Syria. A copy of my response has already been circulated.

We have all been horrified by the despicable attacks in Paris and are determined to see the defeat of Isis.

Our first priority must be the security of Britain and the safety of the British people. The issue now is whether what the Prime Minister is proposing strengthens, or undermines, our national security.

I do not believe that the Prime Minister today made a convincing case that extending UK bombing to Syria would meet that crucial test. Nor did it satisfactorily answer the questions raised by us and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

In particular, the Prime Minister did not set out a coherent strategy, coordinated through the United Nations, for the defeat of Isis. Nor has he been able to explain what credible and acceptable ground forces could retake and hold territory freed from Isis control by an intensified air campaign.

In my view, the Prime Minister has been unable to explain the contribution of additional UK bombing to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the Syrian civil war, or its likely impact on the threat of terrorist attacks in the UK.

For these and other reasons, I do not believe the Prime Minister's current proposal for air strikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it.

The Shadow Cabinet met today for an initial discussion and debated the issues extensively. We will meet again on Monday, when we will attempt to reach a common view.

I will get in touch again when we know the timing of the debate and vote.


Jeremy Corbyn,

Leader of the Labour Party