A DECISION to allow air strikes in Syria has been approved in a debate which has divided political parties and the region's MPs.

After a mammoth 10-hour debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, MPs took a vote on whether to go ahead with air strikes in Syria against so-called Islamic State (IS) - the majority voting in favour of the motion, 397 for versus 223 against.

Despite reservations about her party's leadership, The Rt Hon Fiona Mactaggart joined Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's stance in opposing bombs being dropped. However, overall, 29% of Labour MPs defied their leader.

Ms Mactaggart released a statement prior to the vote which said: "The vicious death cult ISIL/Daesh is raping and torturing anyone who resists their ambitions to control the whole region, but I cannot back action when I have no confidence that an air campaign will succeed in ending their murderous efforts to subdue the people of the region to their ends.

"They are using civilians as human shields. I believe that bombing from the air without a disciplined force of ground troops able to protect civilians and secure territory risks mass casualties with little prospect of long term security for those people.

"I learnt from Iraq that you can’t intervene in a country without a solid plan of what to do to build a secure and stable future after military action."

However, this was not the case for Dominic Grieve, MP for Beaconsfield, Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor or Theresa May, Maidenhead's MP and home secretary, who supported the prime minister David Cameron's stance to go ahead with the air strikes.

Before the vote, Mr Afriyie said: “We cannot expect the rest of the world to defeat Daesh (IS) on our behalf without doing what we can to assist as part of an international coalition force.

“It is also important that we have a clear channel of communication with Russia so that we are working together as best we can to defeat Daesh (IS).

“It is good to see that UN Security Council has come to a settled agreement on the issue which authorises all necessary actions to defeat IS."

Speaking during the House of Commons debate, Mr Grieve acknowledged that the situation was a very complex one, but stated that if air strikes in Syria are wrong, then the UK's similar intervention in Iraq 12 months ago was also wrong.

He said: "It's not a solution to the problem, but our allies are trying to do something to address this problem and keep it under control until a better solution can be found."