There were some fascinating exchanges in the Commons after David Cameron’s statement on Libya. Here are some of the highlights:
– Britain may arm the opposition: Cameron said that his top priority was deposing the Gaddafi regime: “If helping the opposition would somehow bring that about it is certainly something we should be considering.” He added that he was “trying to establish contact with the opposition to find out what their intentions are”.
– Military action is a possibility: In Cameron’s words, “we do not in any way rule out the use of military assets”.
– Planning for a no-fly zone is underway: The military must be prepared to enforce a ban because no-one can predict what Gaddafi will do to his own people, Cameron said.
– But no-fly zones are no pancea: Even Cameron was willing to point out the limitations: Libya is a big country, a “vast amount of area” must be covered, it will require substantial military assets and even if it is successfully enforced, Gaddafi could still go on killing his own people.
– The LSE and Gaddafi: Although he sounded unimpressed by the London School of Economics decision to take money from the Gaddafi family, Cameron said: “let’s hope at least that the money can be put to good use”.
– The Speaker intervenes to defend the Duke of York In an extremely unusual intervention, the Speaker John Bercow chided Chris Bryant for asking whether Prince Andrew should continue as a trade ambassador, given his alleged links to the Gaddafi family. “References to members of the Royal Family should be very rare, very sparing and very careful,” snapped Bercow. “We have to be very careful in the handling of these matters.”