Posts Tagged ‘Libya vote’

Why I changed my mind and abstained on the Libya vote

21/03/2011, 11:59:55 PM

by Tom Watson

David Cameron’s assured performance at the dispatch box during the Libya statement on Friday worried me. He was confident, authoritative and re-assuring. It was like watching Tony Blair introducing the debate before we went to war in Iraq.

I was concerned that there wasn’t sufficient support amongst our key allies and, crucially, arab states to make military intervention credible.

I asked the PM:

“Now that the UN has reasserted its authority with this resolution, it is important that Gaddafi be in no doubt that there is an overwhelming military force to carry it out. In that light, how many countries does the prime minister wish to provide military assets, and how many of them come from the arab league”?

The PM replied:

“The hon. gentleman makes a good point. Obviously, we want the widest alliance possible. I do not think it would be right for me to name at the dispatch box those countries that are considering participation, but there is a wide number. Clearly, at the heart of this are the Americans, the French and the British, but other European countries are coming forward, and there are also some in the arab league, including a number I have spoken to, who have talked about active participation – about playing a part in this. One of the purposes of the meeting tomorrow in Paris will be to bring together the widest possible coalition of those who want to support it, and I believe, particularly as this has such strong UN backing, that it will be a very wide coalition indeed”.

I left the chamber with a lot of unanswered questions:

1.What are the objectives of this mission?

2.What are the limits of the UN resolution?

3.What is our exit strategy?

4.How much is it going to cost?

5.Have we the appropriate military capacity?

6.How strong is the international coalition? (more…)

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