Thousands are taking to social media to criticise Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempt to gain support for air strikes in Syria by accusing anti-war MPs of being ‘a bunch of terrorist sympathisers. Using the hashtag #terroristsympathisers many have compared the PM’s comment to the kind of rhetoric used by authoritarian regimes, and commentators are suggesting that the comments may have lost him some support from the opposition party.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for David Cameron. Since the Paris attacks of November 13th the press, public and many MPs have been calling for a decisive strategy for facing IS, but many believe that extending air strikes into Syria is not the best option.
On Tuesday, the PM told a committee of Tory backbenchers “You should not be walking through the lobbies with Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers.” Insisting that air-strikes in Syria will make the UK safer from terrorism.
This morning’s comments seem to have galvanised those who do not support military intervention, with many taking to twitter to proudly declare their stance among the so-called ‘sympathisers’, with many users pointing out that their sympathies lie with Syrian civilians, not terrorists, whom many say will make up a significant proportion of casualties, should air strikes be pursued.
— amy lamé (@amylame) December 2, 2015
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, though himself voting against intervention, will be allowing a free vote among his MPs after a 10 ½ hour debate in the commons on Wednesday. Since the debate began, many Labour MPs, including Corbyn, have pushed the Prime Minister for an apology , which he has so far refused.
The use of polarising language like this is not unusual for David Cameron, however it may serve him well to remember the mistakes made in 2003, in the run up to another unpopular invasion in the Middle East, which had long-lasting effects on the region still being felt today.
The debate over air strikes continued, with MPs expected to vote this evening. You can watch full coverage of the debates on the BBC, or tell us what you think in the comments below.