If MPs do back bombing, let’s hope it has desired effect

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Today’s vote in the Commons is, without doubt, a very important one.

After a mammoth debate, MPs will cast their votes as to whether they support the government’s position, which is to begin air strikes in Syria targeting Isil terrorists.

It’s not controversial to say the government is likely to win, as David Cameron has already said he wouldn’t call the vote were he not confident of success.

What’s also not surprising is that all the local MPs in the Portsmouth area are broadly supportive of the plan – they are, after all, Conservatives.

But it is a thorny issue.

History has told us that, despite assurances at this stage that boots on the ground are ruled out, it doesn’t mean that couldn’t change in the future.

And that’s just one of the things those against the plan fear.

As we outline on pages 4 and 5 today, the potential loss of civilian life is an issue for some. And, nationally, the long-term strategy has been questioned.

What is the end game, apart from obviously destroying Isil and its strongholds?

Every single one of you reading this today will have an opinion on this and, whether pro or anti, it will be backed up with strongly-held views.

Whatever the outcome of today’s vote, there will be repercussions.

The most likely turn of events will be that within days the RAF will expand its bombing raids from neighbouring Iraq to take in Syria.

For some, this is a small step, while for others it will represent a creep in ambition.

Either way, as the home of the Royal Navy, it may well be that our city’s warships are called on to play a role, as they have already. So the result of this vote could have an effect close to home.