Conservative whips canvassing their party's MPs over whether they would support military action

David Cameron has said he is not ruling out military action to combat the Islamic State (IS) in northern Iraq and Syria.

The prime minister, speaking ahead of a Nato summit in Wales, also restated the Government’s policy not to pay ransoms in the the light of threats made by IS to the life of a British hostage after the murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. The family of the 44-year-old aid worker has asked the media to refrain from identifying him. Mr Cameron said he was “personally supervising” efforts to secure the man’s release.

According to reports emerging today, Conservative whips have been canvassing their party’s MPs over whether they would support military action against IS.

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Speaking to the BBC about the possibility of taking part in military action against IS, Mr Cameron said: “I certainly don’t rule anything out. We should pursue our national interests. The most important thing to consider is that we mustn’t see this as something where you have a Western intervention over the heads of neighbouring states and leaving others to pick up the pieces.”

In another interview with Good Morning Britain, he added: “”We need to show real resolve and determination, we need to use every power and everything in our armoury with our allies, with those on the ground, to make sure we do everything we can to squeeze this dreadful organisation our of existence.”

On the issue of the paying of ransoms to IS, Mr Cameron told the BBC said he was sure that the Government’s policy to not pay them was the right one.

“I know that this is difficult for families when they are the victims of these terrorists – but I’m absolutely convinced from what I’ve seen that this terrorist organisation, and indeed others around the world, have made tens of millions of dollars from these ransoms – and they spend that money on arming themselves, on kidnapping more people and on plotting terrorist outrages, including in our own country,” he said.

Blog: Islamic State is Seeking to Bully the World by Alexander Lucie-Smith

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