Britain has foiled seven terror attacks in the past year, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Mr Cameron said that seven attacks had been “stopped” by British security services and that “what Paris proves is [the terrorists] will try and kill as many people as possible.”
Whitehall sources confirmed to The Times that this represents an increase from the six foiled attacks reported in October, meaning another attack had been foiled within the past few weeks.
The prime minister claimed this morning that the attacks had been foiled over the past six months, but security sources corrected him, saying the figure represented plots disrupted over the last year.
Mr Cameron added that he would consider speeding up the introduction of the Investigatory Powers Bill, which will give security services greater powers to intercept private communications, although he conceded the government will not attempt to persuade parliament to back airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria.
He said: “I have always said I think that it is sensible that we should, [Islamic State] don’t recognise a border between Iraq and Syria and neither should we, but I need to build the argument, I need to take it to parliament, I need to convince more people.”
He also suggested that the British and French approach to Russia could be about to shift, saying Western powers may have to “compromise” with Russian President Vladminir Putin on tackling Islamic State in Syria – although he did not say whether Syrian President Bashar Assad should remain in power.
One senior Whitehall source said that Mr Cameron will try to reset UK relations with Russia to before last year’s annexation of Crimea.
“We will look to get back to kind of conversation they had in Sochi in 2012 when they had a really lengthy deep discussion of the politics in Syria and the situation there and how you might see a process going forward,” the source said.
“We are looking at what happens to Assad, timings and how do you try and reassure the Russians that their issues will be protected moving forward will be the kind of issue the PM will want to get into.”