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Hundreds of British troops will be sent to Iraq in the New Year, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said.
The deployment - to help train local forces - would be in the "very low hundreds" but could also include a small protection force of combat-ready soldiers, he said.
About 50 UK troops are already training Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq.
The Ministry of Defence said a decision on troop numbers had not yet been made.
The British Army would become "largely ceremonial" if the Conservatives win a majority next election and implement their planned spending cuts, Vince Cable has said.
The Liberal Democrat Business Secretary said the Home Office budget would have to "roughly halve" as a result of further cutbacks outlined in George Osborne's Autumn Statement earlier this month.
Mr Cable characterised the Conservatives' plan for shrinking the size of the state as driven by "extreme" ideology and called it "very very foolish".
Once again the COs in their munificence have decided to run a Sooper-Dooper Christmas Draw with stupendous prizes of:
First Prize: £100 in Amazon Vouchers
Second Prize: £40 in Amazon Vouchers
Third Prize £20 in Amazon Vouchers
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