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  1. MPs approve UK military intervention in Iraq against Islamic State (IS) by 524 to 43 votes
  2. David Cameron told the Commons that IS poses a threat to the "streets of Britain" and the UK has a "duty" to confront it militarily
  3. Motion states that IS is threat to UK directly, that government of Iraq has requested assistance and that authorisation does not extend to action in Syria

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm, Esther Webber and Alison Daye

All times stated are UK


That wraps up our live page for today.

MPs have voted to back British participation in air strikes against Islamic State extremists in Iraq.

After a seven-hour debate, MPs voted for military action by 524 votes to 43.

The Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour leaderships all backed air strikes although some MPs expressed concerns about where it would lead and the prospect of future engagement in Syria.

You can find out more about

the conflict in Iraq and the Islamic State here.

BBC's Norman Smith


BBC's Norman Smith

tweets: It's been confirmed that Labour MP Ian McKenzie - aide to shadow defence secretary - has been sacked for not backing air strikes in #iraq


Nick Robinson

Political editor

RAF strikes against IS forces in Iraq are likely to begin this weekend. In theory, they could begin as early as this evening but Saturday night looks more likely if military action is to be avoided on the Muslim holy day.

David Cameron has said this action will be characterised more by "patience and persistence" than "shock and awe". I understand that he is signalling that early strikes may not be followed by daily sorties.

The attacks will not be focussed on the fixed targets of a state - military bases, airfields, bridges etc - but, instead, on the moving targets of a "rebel" force making military advances.

No 'shock and awe'

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon tells BBC News people should not expect "immediate shock and awe" as he plays down the prospect of imminent air strikes.

He stresses that it is going to be a "long campaign", and says it is important that parliament has given its authority for action. The defence secretary says the government would come back to the Commons to seek support for extending air strikes into Syria, if necessary - but stresses that the government does reserve the right to authorise urgent action in an emergency situation.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon

Ben Rhodes


Ben Rhodes, the White House's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications,

tweets: US is proud to have the United Kingdom, Denmark and Belgium joining a growing coalition taking action against ISIL.

Pancha Chandra in Belgium:

Vital parliamentary support from British MPs has tipped the balance in favour of a solid front against ISIS. This is a tactical live chess game where murderous extremists are hounding innocent men, women and children. However, superior air power is not sufficient; ground troops are necessary to rout the merciless ISIS terrorists.

Labour figures

BBC's Norman Smith adds that Labour sources say about 24 of their MPs voted against air strikes.


The BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith says it looks as though there were a significant number of abstentions in the vote, suggesting "a lot of unease" among MPs.

Mark Reckless


One of the Conservative rebels, Mark Reckless,

tweets: I voted against bombing ISIL in Iraq. A year ago we were asked to bomb other side in Syria +what good did 557 MPs voting to attack Libya do?

Sam Macrory


Editor of Total Politics magazine Sam Macrory

tweets: A bad week gets worse for Ed as frontbencher Rushanara Ali quits the front bench over Iraq vote. Tory conference can't come quickly enough.

Julian Huppert


Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert ‏

tweets: Military Intervention in Iraq approved by 524-43. Even though I voted against, I hope it will work out better than I fear! #fb

'Right thing'

However, Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, the government's former attorney general, maintains that the Commons has "done the right thing".

Action 'disastrous'

Speaking after the vote, Labour MP John McDonnell - who voted against the motion - says military action in Iraq will be disastrous, blaming previous interventions in the country for the "rise of Isil".

Vote against

Conservative John Baron, speaking to BBC News, says he voted against action because "key questions" remain unanswered. He claims there is no co-ordinated plan, and adds that "kicking the door down and walking away is not the right policy".

Military action

Following the vote in favour of UK air strikes against IS in Iraq, the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said RAF planes could be called into action as early as Sunday.

Labour resignation

Rushanara Ali has resigned as Labour's shadow education spokesman so that she could abstain over the Iraq vote. She is the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.

US-led coalition news

As UK MPs vote in favour of the UK joining coalition efforts, Belgium is to send

six F-16 fighters to join US-led coalition against Islamic State in Iraq.

Majority in favour

MPs voted by a majority of 481 in favour of government plans to join air strikes against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, following a six-hour debate in an emergency recall of Parliament.

Tellers announce the result of the vote

Mark D'Arcy

Parliamentary correspondent

tweets: Point of order from John McDonnell - can the Speaker recall Parliament if further military action likely; answer, No. He has no such power

Vote procedure

In any Commons vote, there must be four so-called

tellers, who count the votes during a division and then announce the result.

The Speaker will then repeat the result to the House. Today, the tellers for the 'ayes' (ie those in support of the motion) were Liberal Democrat MP Mark Hunter and the Conservatives' Gavin Barwell, and for the 'noes' (ie those opposing the motion) it was Labour backbencher Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP's Pete Wishart.

BreakingBreaking News

The government wins the vote by 524 to 43 - a majority of 481, the Speaker announces.

Alexander Marquardt, ABC News Correspondent

tweets: Kurdish commander in Kobane/Ayn al-Arab tells @ABC heavy fighting w/ #ISIS is 10km to the south, 6km to the east. #Syria

What MPs are voting on

A reminder what it is that MPs are voting on at the moment.

The motion condemns the "barbaric acts" by Islamic State militants and acknowledges the specific request by Iraq for military assistance "and the clear legal basis that this provides for action in Iraq".

It does not authorise action in Syria, and states that this would need a separate vote in Parliament.

House of Commons

tweets: Debate on the #Iraq: coalition against #ISIL motion has now ended. The House has divided. Results of the division will be announced shortly.

Debate concluded

The Speaker puts the question to the House that the motion be passed, prompting shouts of "Aye" and "No" from the green benches - which forces a division.

Typically votes in the Commons take about 15 minutes, as MPs have to file one-by-one through either the Yes or No lobbies to register their vote. MPs can be seen getting ready to vote in the picture below.

A wide shot of MPs starting to vote

BBC's Allegra Stratton


Allegra Stratton

tweets: Just bumped into Labour rebel. They think Lab supporting Iraq vote could cause trouble for any core vote / Lib Dem defection strategy.

Conclusion of debate

Concluding his remarks and appealing for MPs to support the motion, Mr Clegg says: "We must act, we do so mindful of the mistakes and lessons of the past, but we do so with lawful authority, with clear objectives and with the support and active participation of a broad coalition of international opinion which is saying to Isil 'enough is enough'."

In Syria

As MPs begin to vote:

Islamic State militants are advancing on the Syrian town of Kobane, where they are battling Kurdish fighters.

The clashes are visible from Turkey, where protesters have stormed a border fence to go and defend the town. The fighting means some 140,000 people are fleeing into Turkey.

Questions about options

Green MP Caroline Lucas questions whether all political and diplomatic measures have been properly pursued before going down the route of military action. Mr Clegg responds by saying there are times when it is "simply impossible to reason with your foe", adding that there is no diplomatic initiative which would be recognised by the "barbaric and murderous" IS.

Nick Robinson

Political editor

tweets: "All assets are available" - @nick_clegg tells MPs Tomahawk cruise missiles could be used against IS in Iraq as well as RAF

Working in region

The deputy PM emphasises the differences between Iraq and Syria - and stresses that although the motion does not authorise air strikes in Syria this does not mean the UK is "inactive".

He says the UK will work with other countries to create the conditions in which good governance can take root in the region, quoting UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon as saying bombs can kill terrorists but good governance can kill terrorism.

Paralysed by the past?

Mr Clegg defends the prime minister's earlier remarks that the government reserves the right to act without prior parliamentary approval if events demand it, following an intervention from Labour backbencher John McDonnell.

He goes on to say that while the mistakes of the past should be avoided "we should not be paralysed by it". The Lib Dem leader says that all those who campaigned against the 2003 "attack" on Iraq should not hesitate to act to "defend" Iraq upon its request.

Government response

It is left to Lib Dem Deputy PM Nick Clegg to respond to and wrap up the debate on behalf of the government.

Nick Clegg

Opposition support

Air strikes are essential to stem IS's advance and degrade their operations. But this objective "must be in the service of creating conditions for new forms of governance in Sunni parts of Iraq", he says. He finishes by restating the opposition's support for the motion.

Douglas Alexander

What are MPs voting on?

The motion does not authorise bombing IS in Syria - and states that a separate vote would be required from Parliament to carry this out.

The shadow foreign secretary clarifies for the House that Labour has not made a UN Security Council resolution a condition for authorising action in Syria. But he says there are questions around the legality of UK air strikes in Syria.

Closing remarks

We're on to the wind up speeches now, starting with the opposition front bench. Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander says Labour is content that the action being proposed is legal, proportionate and stands a "reasonable" chance of success.

Mistake to consult?

The Conservatives' Jesse Norman describes as a "serious mistake" the convention that has arisen whereby major foreign policy interventions must be approved in Parliament except in an emergency.

He points out that MPs are inevitably far less well-informed than ministers and as a body lacks the "capacity to act quickly and without warning to fast, changing events" resulting in "delay and loss of fragility and surprise which ill-serves our forces in the field".

The Hereford MP says "extreme care should be exercised as to when or whether this House is asked to vote on these matters in future".

'Legal case'

Backing the government, Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland says there is a "clear legal case" for action coupled with an "overwhelming moral" case.

He said it would be a "further tragedy" of the 2003 Iraq war - which he and his party opposed - if the UK felt it was unable to join an international coalition against the "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" being carried out at the hands of IS militants. Mr Mulholland says those voting against the motion have offered no alternative to stopping IS.

Motion before the House

A reminder of the full text of the motion before MPs this afternoon:

That this House:

Condemns the barbaric acts of ISIL against the peoples of Iraq including the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, Christians and Yazidi and the humanitarian crisis this is causing;

Recognises the clear threat ISIL pose to the territorial integrity of Iraq and the request from the government of Iraq for military support from the international community and the specific request to the UK government for such support;

Further recognises the threat ISIL poses to wider international security and the UK directly through its sponsorship of terrorist attacks and its murder of a British hostage;

Acknowledges the broad coalition contributing to military support of the government of Iraq, including countries throughout the Middle East;

Further acknowledges the request of the government of Iraq for international support to defend itself against the threat ISIL poses to Iraq and its citizens, and the clear legal basis that this provides for action in Iraq;

Notes that this motion does not endorse UK air strikes in Syria as part of this campaign, and any proposal to do so would be subject to a separate vote in Parliament;

Accordingly supports Her Majesty's Government, working with allies, in supporting the government of Iraq in protecting civilians and restoring its territorial integrity, including the use of UK air strikes to support Iraqi, including Kurdish, security forces' efforts against ISIL in Iraq;

Notes that Her Majesty's Government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations;

Offers its wholehearted support to the men and women of Her Majesty's armed forces.

Lords debate ends

Lord Wallace concludes by telling the House that the UK must offer a "compelling" alternative to extremism; and Lords disband, returning to Parliament on 13 October.