Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 21st March 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Cameron David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 3:32 pm, 21st March 2011

I will take as many interventions as I can, but before I give way any more, let me turn to some of the other questions that have been raised in recent days.

First, as some hon. Members have asked today, has the use of force been reasonable? As I have said, we have undertaken the use of force in two ways. The first is to suppress Libyan air defences, which I believe is absolutely essential. As Prime Minister, I would not have been prepared to sanction our participation in enforcing the no-fly zone without doing everything possible to reduce the risk to our servicemen and women beforehand. That seems to me absolutely vital. The second area of activity has been action designed explicitly to safeguard civilian populations under attack. As the resolution explicitly authorises, it was quite clear that the population of Benghazi was under heavy attack. Civilians were being killed in significant numbers and exodus from the town had begun, so there was an urgent need to take action to stop the slaughter. As I have said, I am absolutely convinced that what has been done is proportionate.

Targets must be fully consistent with the UN Security Council resolution. We therefore choose our targets to stop attacks on civilians and to implement the no-fly zone, but we should not give a running commentary on targeting and I do not propose to say any more on the subject than that.