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:
Dressed my son, had breakfast, cleaned my teeth, went to work to teach. Average day in the life of a #terroristsympathiser. How's you day?— Watford Boy (@BoringLovechild) December 2, 2015
Was going to have coffee this morning, but now worried it may leave me looking like a #terroristsympathiser.
So wine it is.— Aileen McGibbon (@aileen_mcgibbon) December 2, 2015
I'm taking neighbours dog for a walk today because I'm a #TerroristSympathiser— jim macred (@smokejack) December 2, 2015
i'd rather see money go into education than war, therefore i am a #terroristsympathiser— sam hinrichs (@samhinrichs_) December 2, 2015
Had a large & AFAIK non-jihadist breakfast— Gus Sette (@TheMightyGusset) December 2, 2015
Ooh, apparently I'm a #terroristsympathiser! How exciting. Must add it to my bio: "Book lover, student, TERRORIST SYMPATHISER, cat lady etc"— Ellie P (@BlondeBookGirl) December 2, 2015
Yoda: 'Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering'...the evidence is clear. I must be a #terroristsympathiser— Kim Sadique (@ksadique1) December 2, 2015
@Johnfrededdy Yep, I forgot to get any indigestion tablets! Too late nowDecember 2, 2015
Can't decide whether I'm late or early w the Xmas lights- think they should go up today as neighbours already on it #terroristsympathiser— Sarah-Jayne Taylor (@ess_jay_tee) December 2, 2015
Cheesy toast and a pot of tea. Should really put the Hoover round before the washing up #terroristsympathiser— Sarah-Jayne Taylor (@ess_jay_tee) December 2, 2015
Apparently I'm a #terroristsympathiser because I'd rather see money spent on health and social care and public sector investment than bombs.— Jon H Kellar (@IconKellar) December 2, 2015
There you go. You go to bed as an ordinary punter and wake up as #terroristsympathiser.— james kearney (@reubenspal) December 2, 2015
Ich bin ein #terroristsympathiser, apparently, for not wanting to bomb innocent people. I thought bombing innocents was what terrorists did.— Samuel West (@exitthelemming) December 2, 2015
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".
It is disgraceful that the Prime Minister has described MPs voting with their consciences tonight as "terrorist sympathisers".— Hilary Benn (@hilarybennmp) December 2, 2015
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.
Have I got this right?
Kill innocent people = #terrorist
No to killing innocent people = #terroristsympathiser
No, I've got confused somehow— Keith Mansell (@kmansell1) December 2, 2015
I am not a "terrorist sympathiser." I just don't see how bombing innocent people will achieve any positive outcome. #DontBombSyria— Chantal (@ChantalPearson) December 2, 2015
Blimey, last night I went to bed thinking we shouldn't be killing innocent folk & woke this morning a 'terrorist sympathiser'— JustSomeGuy (@JohnWibbly) December 2, 2015
When somebody cannot put forward rational arguments they have to make irrational statementsDecember 2, 2015
We are not terrorist sympathisers.
We are innocent civilian sympathisers.December 2, 2015
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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