UK

#terroristsympathiser: All These Very Normal People Are Outing Themselves As 'Terrorist Sympathisers'

02/12/2015 12:18 GMT | Updated 02/12/2015 17:59 GMT

David Cameron's claim that MPs who vote against bombing in Syria are "terrorist sympathisers" continues to spectacularly backfire today as Britons outed themselves en masse as exactly that.

While a Labour spokesman called Cameron's remarks "contemptible and desperate slur which demeans his office", Cameron's embarrassment was compounded by a poll in The Times that found nearly one third of people would fit into Cameron's description of "terrorist sympathisers" by not backing British airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State in Syria.

In addition, the YouGov survey found 31% of the public oppose the air strikes, and only 48% of the public back the air strikes that parliament will debate and vote on tonight. Some 21% remain undecided.

Thousands vented their fury at the PM's claim, pushing #terroristsympathiser to the top Twitter trend in the UK on Wednesday morning.

But the most telling response to Cameron's comments came from those who admitted they were 'terrorist sympathisers' and detailed how their behaviour proved it:

Cameron sparked outcry after telling MPs considering voting against a bombing campaign on Tuesday night: “You should not be walking through the lobbies with Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers."

A Labour spokesman fired back: “It is a contemptible and desperate slur which demeans his office. He clearly realises he has failed to make a convincing case for military action in Syria and opinion is shifting away from him.”

Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn said Cameron's choice of words was "disgraceful".

However Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond insisted on Wednesday morning that Cameron was not aiming his comments at long-standing opponents of war like Corbyn, but rather at people like former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who last week said the 7/7 London bombers "gave their lives" for a cause they believed in.

Others denied they were sympathetic to IS simply because they found the case for bombing.

In the commons today Cameron has appealed to MPs to back RAF air strikes against Islamic State to "keep the British people safe" from the threat of terrorist attack.

Opening a 10-hour Commons debate ahead of a vote tonight, the Prime Minister said the country had no choice but to engage in the struggle with IS – also referred to Isil, Isis or Daesh.

"The question before the House today is how we keep the British people safe from the threat posed by Isil," he told MPs.

"This is not about whether we want to fight terrorism, it's about how best we do that."

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