David Cameron may have won the backing of Westminster over air strikes in Syria but may yet have to win over the British public.

That was the view of Huddersfield political expert Pete Woodcock as the controversial issue was debated by MPs in a packed House of Commons.

The University of Huddersfield politics lecturer also feels the Prime Minister’s “injudicious” remarks about MPs who did not support the air strike motion being “terrorist sympathisers” may well come back to bite him.

Dr Woodcock said: “He may have been trying to emphasise a point to his Conservative backbenchers by making the remark but you have to wonder what he was thinking.

“It seems injudicious at a time when Mr Cameron is trying to convince not only the MPs but also the country about the need for air strikes in Syria.

“A large proportion of the British public remains unconvinced by the argument”.

On Twitter, David Cameron's 'terrorist sympathiser' accusation was mocked by those opposed to bombing Syria.

Dr Woodcock said the debate was the most important issue for the Government since the last Election and it was a test for Mr Cameron’s majority.

“It is a significant foreign policy issue for us all.

Prime Minister David Cameron speaking during the debate in the House of Commons on extending the bombing campaign against Islamic State to Syria.
Prime Minister David Cameron speaking during the debate in the House of Commons on extending the bombing campaign against Islamic State to Syria.

“My gut feeling is that Mr Cameron will get his majority, but he has said he wants a convincing backing. I feel he will get through, but he still has a job to convince the country at large”.

Local MPs were avid listeners as the historic 10-hour debate got under way in Westminster.

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman and Colne Valley Tory Jason McCartney had both insisted they would listen fully to the debate before deciding how to vote.

Tory Craig Whittaker, MP for the Calder Valley, was firmly behind air strikes while Dewsbury’s Labour MP Paula Sherriff was vehemently opposed to strikes.

Mr Cameron insisted he had “respect” for those who will vote ‘no’ as he sought to play down a row over comments he made to Tory backbenchers, when he reportedly urged them not to vote with a “bunch of terrorist sympathisers”

But he warned MPs: “Isil have brutally murdered British hostages. They have inspired the worst terrorist attack against British people since 7/7 on the beaches of Tunisia.

Demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in central London as MPs debate on extending the bombing campaign against Islamic State to Syria.
Demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in central London as MPs debate on extending the bombing campaign against Islamic State to Syria.

“And they have plotted atrocity after atrocity on the streets here at home.

“Since November last year, our security services have foiled no fewer than seven different plots against our people. So this threat is very real.

“The question is this: do we work with our allies to degrade and destroy this threat and do we go after these terrorists in their heartlands, from where they are plotting to kill British people. Or do we sit back and wait for them to attack us.”

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A decision to bomb Islamic State terrorists in Syria will “almost inevitably lead to the deaths of innocents”, Jeremy Corbyn said.

The leader of the opposition told MPs they faced a “most serious, solemn and morally challenging” decision as they debated expanding UK military involvement in the country.

“It is one with potentially far reaching consequences for us all here in Britain as well as the people of Syria and the wider Middle East,” he said.

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“For all members to take a decision that will put British servicemen and women in harms way and almost inevitably lead to the deaths of innocents is a heavy responsibility.

“It must be treated with the utmost seriousness and respect given to those who make a different judgement about the right course of action to take.”