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David Cameron has revealed that "detailed plans" are being put in place for Britain to help rescue stranded Yazidi refugees in Iraq.
The Prime Minister returned to the UK to chair a Cobra meeting today on the situation in Iraq, as pressure grows for a stronger line to be taken on the crisis.
Speaking after the meeting, the Prime Minister continued to resist calls to let MPs debate military intervention in the Commons. "I don’t think it is necessary to recall parliament," he said.
But he said that Britain would be involved in an international mission to rescue thousands of stranded refugees.
"We need a plan to get these people off that mountain and get them to a place of safety and I can confirm that detailed plans are now being put in place and are underway and that Britain will play a role in delivering them," he said.
The Prime Minister said he could not disclose full details of the mission at this stage, but that "Britain will play a role with British planes and British aid helping to keep these people alive in a really desperate situation".
The action plan comes after International Development Secretary Justine Greening this morning said a third round of aid drops to Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq had been successful.
But ministers are facing calls to adopt a tougher stance in Iraq. Former defence secretary Liam Fox today joined senior former defence figures in urging the Government to step up its involvement as the country continues to battle an insurgency by Islamist militants.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Dr Fox said Western politicians had been guilty of "wishful thinking at best, and catastrophic complacency at worst" over the threat posed by the Islamic State, and urged military action.
Mr Cameron today insisted that the Government was right to focus on aid, rather than military intervention. "I think the first thing is to deal with this desperate humanitarian situation with people who are exposed, starving, dying of thirst on this mountain side, getting them to a place of safety," he said.
But he also said Britain would play a role in ensuring that the necessary weapons and ammunition were provided to the Kurds. The Prime Minister maintained: "In terms of the ammunition they are getting, Britain is going to be playing a role in helping to get that to them."
Richard Ottaway said the immediate priority for Britain in Iraq was to ensure that the necessary arms were being provided to the Kurds and to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees. “The United States is very much in the lead here and we... Continue to article
Downing Street press release Please find below a statement from a No10 spokesperson on the PM's calls with President Erdogan of Turkey, President Hollande of France and President Barzani of Kurdistan Regional Government. Call with Pres... Continue to article
Labour press release Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, commenting on the situation on Mount Sinjar, said: "I welcome the Prime Minister's statement on further action to bring to safety those on Mount Sinjar. It is right to re... Continue to article
Mark Field set out the immediate and long-term consequences of the current violence in Iraq and said that the UK would need to provide asylum to a “substantial numbers of Christians and other minorities”. “Probably we will have to p... Continue to article
Downing Street press release Statement from a No10 spokesperson on today's COBR meeting and the Prime Minister's phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister designate, Dr Haider Al-Abadi. "The Prime Minister chaired today's COBR meeting on th... Continue to article
Nadhim Zahawi hinted he would be against any attempt to escalate British involvement in Iraq, and stated it was up to Iraq to sort out its own problems. “Nouri al-Maliki has had eight years to try and bring the country together. When we ... Continue to article
Sir Menzies Campbell urged the Prime Minister to recall Parliament to debate Iraq and said it would be in the Government’s interest as it has “got a good story to tell” on their response to the crisis so far. “I think when you are puttin... Continue to article
David Cameron said “detailed plans” were being put in place to help the displaced Yazidi people in Iraq and that Britain would be involved in delivering them. “I am proud of the fact that British aeroplanes and British aid have been p... Continue to article
Liam Fox reiterated calls for the UK Government to intervene militarily in Iraq. “I think we have got two options. We have got the option of using our own air power to diminish the capability of ISIS; we have got the capability to give w... Continue to article
Iain Duncan Smith described today's unemployment figures as "remarkable". "The reality is, coming out of the one of the worst recessions in living memory, worse than in any time anyone can ever remember, we actually saw the GDP fall by ... Continue to article
Labour press release Douglas Alexander MP, Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, said: "Tens of thousands of people remain trapped and terrified on Mount Sinjar having fled ISIL's murderous advance. "Nearly a quarter of Iraq's Christian... Continue to article
DFID press release UK steps up aid for Northern Iraq International Development Secretary Justine Greening has confirmed a third round of successful UK aid drops, including much-needed shelter, to help thousands of people on Mount Sinjar... Continue to article
A half-hearted and ineffectual intervention will only increase the suffering of those caught up in the nightmare of ISIS and increase the risk of a widening crisis. Continue to article
Two things at least are clear about that woebegone colonial creation that is the country named Iraq. One is that its very existence is threatened by a savage army of Sunni jihadists whose avowed goal ... Continue to article
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13/08/2014 on BBC News
13/08/2014 on World at One, BBC Radio 4
13/08/2014 on Pooled clip
13/08/2014 on Sky News
13/08/2014 on Sky News
13/08/2014 on PM, BBC Radio 4
13/08/2014 on Newsnight, BBC Two
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
40 minutes ago on Newsnight, BBC 2
52 minutes ago on Newsnight, BBC 2
22/10/2014 on BBC News
2 hours ago