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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:25 pm on 16th April 1986.

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Photo of Mr Kenneth Weetch Mr Kenneth Weetch , Ipswich 5:25 pm, 16th April 1986

President Gaddafi is viewed with almost complete distaste in many areas of the middle east. In recent months his domestic position has been critically weakened because of the fall in the price of oil. He and his regime are in difficulties. However, at one stroke the United States and the United Kingdom have strengthened his position and put him on the map again. I do not make a distinction between the morality of one action compared with the morality of another. My point is that an exploration of every other alternative was preferable to the action that has been taken. British foreign policy interests in the middle east have been critically damaged.

I am a Member of Parliament for a Suffolk constituency. The F1–11s flew to Libya from Suffolk. One can protect military bases against subversion, but what protection can be offered to the ordinary citizens in my constituency against the subversion that could very well take place? Gaddafi has been described as a mad dog. Mad dogs wander and they bite. The area of East Anglia that I represent is now more in the front line than it has ever been, and it has been put needlessly at risk. It is one thing to say that we cannot control the United States because it is the most powerful country in the world. It is quite another to be drawn into an incident like this that was based upon sheer, blind folly.