Brighton MP votes against military action in Libya

Posted On 22 Mar 2011 at 2:01 am

Brighton Pavilion Green MP Caroline Lucas voted against Britain taking military action in Libya in the House of Commons late last night (Monday 21 March).

She was one of only 13 MPs to vote against British military personnel enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, credited with preventing a massacre in Baghazi.

She intervened early on in the debate as the Prime Minister, David Cameron, spelt out the case for Britain’s involvement.

She asked him a pointed question about the weapons sold to Colonel Gaddafi by British companies.

German Doner Kebab

She said: “Any military action needs to be principled and consistent.

“But last year the UK issued £231 million worth of arms exports licences to Libya and £55 million of licences to Saudi Arabia, including the very personnel carriers that were rolling into Bahrain just last week.

“Does he not agree that our position would be a lot more consistent and a lot more principled if we stopped selling arms to repressive regimes anywhere in that region?”

Mr Cameron said: “The honourable lady makes an important point, which we have discussed several times during statements and questions.


“We are having a proper review of not just arms exports, but training licences and other relations.

“Of the 118 single and open licences for Libya, we have revoked all licences that cover equipment of concern.

“However, I agree with the honourable lady that there will be lessons to learn from the conflict for the future.”

Later she spoke for five minutes and opened by paying tribute to British servicemen and women “whose courage and commitment are beyond question”.

But she said: “We owe it to them, and indeed to all in the Middle East and North African region, to ensure that the role that Britain plays is beyond reproach or misunderstanding.

“That means that it must be consistent, that it must be principled, and that it must be likely to do good rather than harm.

“Measuring the military intervention that has taken place so far against those benchmarks, I am not sure that they are being met.

 “We are also told that the fact that we cannot do good everywhere should not be an argument against doing whatever we can.


“The fact that we are operating in the same week as invading Saudi forces are executing unarmed democracy protesters on the streets of Bahrain raises serious questions.

“Colonel Gaddafi who has been rightly described today as a murderous dictator has not suddenly become one.

“He was already a murderous dictator a few months, or weeks, ago, when we were happy to sell him tear gas, crowd control equipment, ammunition for wall and door-breaching projectile launchers, and plenty of other military equipment as well.

“We cannot ignore our own complicity in arriving at this point.

“We cannot continue to arm regimes that abuse their own citizens, and try to claim the moral high ground when addressing the conflicts that those same arms have helped to perpetuate.

“I hope very much that the commitment that we are hearing today – the commitment to upholding human rights in the Middle East – will extend to our policies on arms exports so that we can finally not just review but end the policy of selling arms to repressive regimes.”

In Libya, she said: “There is a real risk of our making matters worse.

“If there is a stalemate – if Gaddafi does not fall in the next few weeks – we could face a civil war, a partitioned Libya and even a potential breeding ground for al-Qaeda.”

And she called for a Middle East peace conference to be convened urgently.

Hove MP Mike Weatherley and his fellow Conservative Simon Kirby, the MP for Brighton Kemptown, were among the 557 MPs to vote for the motion. Thirteen voted against.

The motion

The Prime Minister opened the debate by putting a motion to the House of Commons:

“I beg to move that this House

  • welcomes United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1973
  • deplores the ongoing use of violence by the Libyan regime
  • acknowledges the demonstrable need, regional support and clear legal basis for urgent action to protect the people of Libya
  • accordingly supports Her Majesty’s Government, working with others, in the taking of all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya and to enforce the No Fly Zone
  • including the use of UK armed forces and military assets in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1973 and
  • offers its wholehearted support to the men and women of Her Majesty’s armed forces.”
  1. IAN CAMERON Reply

    I am glad that Caroline Lucas made her principled comments opposing the military initiative against Libya. I have been trying to establish which other MPs had voted against the UN initiative but the information seems hard to come by. I have one or two other names. Anyway thank you Caroline Lucas.

  2. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    ….the UK, USA and other western nations must restrain gung-ho impulses to lead; and by doing so pull into a more equal partnership the governments of the countries of the middle east and Africa. Who is paying for all this? In the absence of hardware to contribute, I hope deep pockets are being dug into by the middle eastern partners. Gadaffi in prison chains, please, brought low and humiliated rather than just dead.

  3. Peter Coates Reply

    I fully agree with you that prospective developers should be obliged to maintain derelict properties in good order pending planning licences, but also when planning approval is given, it should state that it will lapse if the agreed work is not begun within a specified delay of say 6 months, and that the project should be completed within a reasonable specified period, failing which a significant daily fine should be exacted.

    It is not only scandalous that property bought by speculators should be allowed progressively to decay whilst planning permission is being sought, but it is equally deplorable that once approval is given, the local neighbourhood should be saddled with the inconvenience and disruption of building work dragging on for an unreasonable time. The delay should take into account the nature and importance of the intended development. I have seen the conversion of a bungalow in a pleasant residential area into a multi-storey house take upwards of 3 year to complete, with considerable mess and inconvenience to neighbouring residents.

    Council tax payers are surely entitled to have some say in such matters

  4. Frank le Duc Reply

    The vote is recorded here The 13 MPs who opposed the motion were Graham Allen, John Baron, Ronnie Campbell, Jeremy Corbyn, Mark Durkan, Barry Gardiner, Roger Godsiff, Caroline Lucas, John McDonnell, Linda Riordan, Margaret Ritchie, Dennis Skinner and Mike Wood, with Katy Clark and Yasmin Qureshi acting as tellers. They represent four parties including the Conservative Party. Other MPs expressed misgivings and reservations but John Bercow, the Speaker, denied them the chance to amend the motion.

  5. Margot Freed Reply

    So we just leave Gadaffi to commit genocide against his people and stand by, even though the UN passed the motion?

    Caroline Lucas with her single issue party is more concerned about global warming and recycling than murder and genocide. I agree that we should be more even-handed, but we were right with stopping psychotic Saddam Hussain in Iraq and we are right to stop unstable Gadaffi. Unfortunately, we have been slow to respond to Mugabe, but he is letting his people starve rather than using them as human shields and gun fodder.

  6. jiff davis Reply

    Kinetic Lies and deception in Libya.

    Lets look at the propaganda smear campaign being waged against Libya and it’s leaders and ask if the media is telling even half the truth and if our leaders have become predictable liars and are taking us all for fools.

    So OK it’s not a war when you drop bombs and deliberately try to assassinate a world leader or supply weapons to ex Al-CIAda rebels on the ground so that they can march into major cities with these guns the French have given our friendly rebels who will kill anyone who shows support to a leader that has turned a dead end country into one that has the best hospitals and universities on the African continent.

    This war that started out as a no fly zone that is still not a war because Obama pulled the word ‘Kinetic’ from his a$$ and has a blank cheque from the UN’s resolution 1973 that says ‘All necessary means to defend civilians’ must be the biggest scam going.
    I would like such words in a contract that allowed me to investigate and prosecute international bankers around the world for the fraud they have committed that includes the term ‘All necessary means to prosecute bankers/fraudster and acts of treason’ but I don’t think I will get one.

    This is not an NATO action because only three of it’s members are taking part in the daily attacks on a sovereign state and some are calling for an immediate cease fire but clearly our leaders are playing with words and for this reason Congress did not approve Obama’s new war on terror (yes we hear it every day, Muslims under my bed) but Congress still approved funding for the war, Sorry ‘Kinetic Military Action’ which not only goes to show how useless they are but also shows little respect for the American public when 80% are apposed to the war.

    Looking at the Arab spring uprising we can see that all the protests started in the major cities and yet in Libya we are to believe farm peasants out in the middle of no where eventually found the courage to rise up in the desert to attack Libyan forces and the ninety nine percent of people in Tripoli who hated Gaddffi’s guts stayed at home.

    Quite to the contrary Colonel Gaddffi has a lot of support from the people of Libya and not just from his own tribal clan and apart from pro Gaddffi demonstrations around the world, (not reported in the news) we also have growing support from the people of Libya who are tired of these bombs of love that NATO keeps dropping and sure we have defectors that joined the rebels but what you won’t learn from the news is that some rebels have defected back over to government side.

    The real reason we had peasants rising up from the outskirts of the country was because CIA/MOSSAD agents could operate in these areas by handing out free money , guns, propaganda and then flee back across the borders of neighbouring countries when challenged by Libyan forces but still they managed to present to us on main stream news channels a groups of rebels playing chicken with troops in the middle of desert night after night, same pickup trucks, same guns, same faces just like you would expect from a low budget film made in China.

    Gaddafi did not play the United Nations part in this play script where he was supposed to surrender to the first group of rag tag rebels and offer them his country that he had spent a life time building to become the most open and affluent place in Africa complete with hospitals to shame many in Europe and Universities where students didn’t need to pay a fortune to gain an education.

    Libya has several tribal factions and it would to stupid to suggest all were treated equally by the government but Gaddffi did manage to hold the tribes together and that often involved brutal suppression of opposing forces but if you look towards the UK then most people from Scotland will tell you that people in London always received a bigger slice of the cake and look how many people the British have killed in Ireland who only wanted their own land back.

    Russia and China both abstained from voting on resolution 1973 and now say they have been mislead by the UN and would had used veto powers had they known how far the resolution was going to be extended, twisted, exaggerated and this is why they used veto powers when next asked about dealing with Syria so you can see these two have not been fooled and nor has the African Union who have repeatedly tried to broker a peace deal only to be turned down by Mrs Clinton and here chums who want the gas and oil and needed to stop Gaddffi creating a gold backed currency and therefore allowing people to opt out of the western corrupt banking system that pays 0.5% less tax for looking after peoples savings despite most of these banks being on the verge of bankruptcy.

    The puppets in the USA want a return of boom and bust so the elite can milk the public dry and world war two ended the great depression in the 1930’s and these puppets think they can make it a double hat trick without realising the world has changed and Britannia no longer rules the waves.

    The UK says it is only targeting military installations, the UK claims to have carried out thousands of sorties bombing Libya from 50,000 feet only killing the odd civilian on the ground and all at a cost of a mere £260 million pounds, the UK lies when a single stealth bomber cost as much as $2 billion each.

    Most of what has been written above can be verified but lets move on to the fog of war or what I would call outright lies and propaganda and lets look at these allegations of Viagra, Rape, Murder, Genocide and skip over claims that Gaddffi eats children for breakfast or kills any woman that won’t sleep with him.

    The English would know all about drugs and war or did you think the opium war with China was about keeping drugs out of the UK and going back to Vietnam we can see the Americans were using large quantities of drugs but more recently we have the ten year Afghanistan war on drugs and yet the drugs now being exported out from Afghanistan has increased by a factor of four since the Taliban was kicked out and apart from that we now have solders becoming drug barons.

    Nope if you want to know about drugs and war then may I suggest that the best person to ask is Oliver North.
    I’m quite sure Rape is being committed by both sides in this CIA induced war but that does not mean the orders have come from the top and yet all we get on the TV is stories of one side committing rape but ask yourself would rebels not be more incline to commit rape when they are foreign mercenaries or would disciplined army troops do this to their own people.

    Murder is not something that happens when two groups of people are taking pot shots at each other or an paid agent is captured and it’s a fair bet to say that scores are being settled on both sides to some extent but dropping bombs on civilians from 50,000 feet is Murder especially when you consider that according to Obama this is not a war.

    Genocide well that’s a good one when you look at what happened to American Indians and the US Support for Israel in stealing more and more land and then shooting anyone who wants their land back or supporting a country that bans humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip but looking back at Libya the only acts of Genocide being committed and again not reported by the main stream press is the deliberate act by the rebels to execute and remove all the blacks in Libya.

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